Falling Angel


chamber ensemble of 17 players
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
1(=afl & picc).1(=ca).1(=bcl).1Eb(=bcl).1(=cbsn) - 2.2(1 & 2 = fl.hn) - 2 perc (see score for details) - electric keyboard on harpischord setting (= prepared piano: paper placed between strings and hammers) - 2vln.vla.vcl.db

Commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with financial assistance from Arts Council England, West Midlands and BCMG's Sound Investment Scheme

First Performance
3.2.07, CBSO Centre, Birmingham: BCMG/Thomas Adès

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
The starting point for this piece was the painting ‘Falling Angel’ by the German artist Anselm Kiefer. I was initially drawn to his work by the abrasive textures he makes out of natural materials, which give his work intensity and rawness. There are two main images in this work: an artist’s palette, which represents a victim (an emblem of art being threatened), and the painter’s guardian angel. ‘Falling Angel’ shows the fall of the angel holding a palette. Kiefer’s painting is simultaneously very bright and very dark, and it was this that I hoped to capture in sound; I often aim to create music that is “black and shiny”. The musical motifs in my piece include fanfares, marches and an ethereal distorted melody, all of which act as signposts to decide the direction of the music. Rustic dances, quivering chords and metallic bass lines transform into lyrical lines, which are woven together and underpinned or saturated by rough, abrasive textures. Tansy Davies

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