Hidden Variables


chamber orchestra of 15 players
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
1.1.1.bcl.1 - 1100 - perc(1): BD+foot ped/hi-hat/wdbl/(tam-t)/flexatone/vib/glsp/(mar) - pno(= elec keyboard ad lib) - harp - 2 vln.vla.vlc.db
Commissioned by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with financial assistance from West Midlands Arts and the Michael Tippett Foundation
First Performance
14.5.89, Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Peter Donohoe

Facsimile score 0-571-51187-2 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

Colin Matthews Hidden Variables for chamber ensemble (1989) The theory of hidden variables - largely rejected in the world of particle physics - is (to simplify it absurdly) an attempt to remove from quantum mechanics its inherent, and - to the layman - disturbing uncertainty. It would be pretentious in the extreme to try to mirror this in music. In this piece various styles, some more fashionable than others (including my own) collide and give rise to unexpected juxtapositions, and the title implies little more than that there is something going on beneath the surface. The form of the work is a 13-minute Scherzo, which consists of a set of interlocking variations, with an unvarying time signature (6/4) and same very fast tempo throughout. Hidden Variables was commissioned by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and composed between October 1988 and March 1989. It was first performed by the BCMG in May 1989 under Peter Donohoe with subsequent performances led by Sir Simon Rattle in March 1990. The U.S. premiere was given at the Tanglewood Music Center in August 1991 under Robert Spano. At the request of Michael Tilson Thomas, Hidden Variables was orchestrated for a joint commission by the London Symphony Orchestra and the New World Symphony Orchestra for performances in 1992 and 1993. CM

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