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For Piano Duo
Hexagrams comes from an on-going collection of music for instruments titled Instrumentarium Novum that aspires to re-examine some of the conditions for music making in our time. Instrumentarium is a term used by the conductor and scholar Nickolaus Harnoncourt to describe the common-place collection of instruments and performance practice found in Baroque and early Classical music. Here there was an expectation that music would be enriched by all the instrumental variety and timbral variation the imagination of musicians could muster. Instrumentation and performance detail rarely dictated the nature of the music itself. Matters such as instrumental doubling, register placement, chord voicings, dynamics and articulation held a more speculative interpretation in the composer's mind.

Such a speculative approach has been celebrated in the composition of six works that take as their starting point the proportions and spirit of the concertos for mixed instrumental ensemble found in the music of Bach and Vivaldi. As in Vivaldi's celebrated op.8 concertos there is in play a contest between harmony (technique) and invention. This is amplified by the hexagram images attached to each concerto taken from the ancient book of divination, the I Ching. These images and their interpretation provide a kind of rhetorical affekt, giving a gentle measure of guidance to both performer and listener as to the overall character of each concerto.

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Nigel Morgan, Prudential Buildings, 55 Westgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 1BW, United Kingdom Tel: 01924 383017 e-mail: tonalitysystems@mac.com

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