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The White Light of Wonder: Scenes from Childhood

from A Lost Experience in the Land of the Living.

Throughout the collection harmony is the predominant musical feature, sometimes lurking behind the scenes to give a foundation for melodic and contrapuntal invention, sometimes clearly present and sounded out as chord sequences. However, using the word 'sequences' gives a false idea: chord objects would often be more precise. Each chord is a unique sonic object created to be played easily by two fingers in each hand. Only in the movement, which gives the collection its name, do the chords get any bigger!
In the first half of the collection the harmonic rhythm and content is quite rich, often between 12 and 24 different chord objects per piece. As the second half progresses the harmonic rhythm tends to slow down until in No.11 just two chords (taken from the prologue of Harrison Birtwistle's opera Punch and Judy) provide the source material. The final piece explores inversions of chord objects as the music pours new harmony into the mould of Schumann's Der Dichter Spricht.

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