Coursing - Etude No 1


chamber orchestra of 14 players
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
1111 - 1110 - perc(1): metallophone/tgl/hi-hat/susp.cym/tam-t/2 japanese temple bells - pno - 2 vln.vla.vlc.db
Commissioned by the London Sinfonietta with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain
First Performance
14.4.79, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London: London Sinfonietta/Simon Rattle

Facsimile score 0-571-50790-5 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

Coursing was begun in July 1978, a preliminary version was given its first performance by the London Sinfonietta under Simon Rattle in April 1979, and the piece was completed in early 1981. The title is intended to suggest at once energy, fluidity and great speed: an initial impetus towards the character of the music was the rapids at Niagara Falls - that is, the immense contained force of the water, despite its surface smoothness, just before it plunges down. What courses through this piece are numerous versions of the long unison melody heard at the beginning. This melody (which require considerable ensemble virtuosity) is in a sense present throughout the work, and all different tempi and harmonic types can be simply related back to it. Like all of my recent scores, Coursing is compact, playing a little over 6 minutes. It is dedicated to Elliott Carter, in admiration for his 70th birthday. Coursing was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta and funds were provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

© Oliver Knussen

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