Barber's Timepiece, The


large orchestra
Full Orchestra
3(II=picc.III=afl).3(III=ca).3(I+II=Ebcl.III=bcl).ssax.asax.1.2 cbsn - 5.ptpt.2.3.1 - timp - perc(3): claves/vibraslap/2/3 hi-hat/2 BD/tamb/4 wdbl/4 c.bells/tam-t/whip/afuche (cabaca)/2 log drum/SD/6 - pno - harp - strings
Written for the Orchestra of the National Centre for Orchestral Studies
First Performance
13.6.86, Goldsmith's College, London: National Centre of Orchestral Studies Symphony Orchestra/Adrian Leaper

Score 0-571-51261-5 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

I wrote 'The Barber’s Timepiece' in the spring of 1986 for the orchestra of the National Centre for Orchestral Studies. The title came to me after the music had been completed; it comes from one of Italo Calvino’s retellings of Italian folk tales. The story tells of a clock that had kept perfect time for centuries without being wound up. “The barber had wound it up just once, and from then on, ticktock, ticktock, ticktock. . .” “. . .People from all over were accustomed to run to his shop to ask the clock things they needed to know.” . . . . . .”Oh clock, oh clock, when will my tribulations end? Tell me, for pity’s sake, when to expect Death?” . . . . . .”TickTock, TickTock, TickTock, For him who sings no song, Life may be very long.”

© John Woolrich

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

'The Barber's Timepiece' reviews

‘A dry, percussive ostinato pattern contrasting with a Birtwistle-like melodic line sets up The Barber’s Timepiece. The music builds tension through the heightened repetition of these elements, a direct and effective way of evoking the conflicting perceptions of ‘timeless’ melody against the clinical onward march of time itself.’ International Record Review (Graham Simpson) January 2002 Read more

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