3(II=tuned ¼-tone lower, III=picc tuned ¼ tone lower).3(III=ca).3(II=tuned ¼ tone lower).3 (II=tuned ¼ tone lower) - 4.3(II=tuned ¼ tone lower).3.1 - perc(3): vib/2 tgl/t.bells/tam-t/steel drum - hp - electronic keyboard tuned ¼-tone lower - strings
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This work is a homage to the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, whose simplicity of line and formal clarity have been a constant source of fascination. Though Brancusi never made a sculpture entitled “Eden”, much of his work seems to reflect a state of pre-civilisation, as if presenting the viewer with a glimpse of a lost innocence to which to aspire. This orchestral piece has the same aim – hence the title.
Eden is a short work, using a new type of tuning system. For the technically minded, it is based upon non-tempered harmonics – the 7th, 11th and 13th -from the overtone series. On a C fundamental, these harmonics would be respectively a B-flat, F-sharp and A, each flat by about ¼-tone. Music composed using this kind of tuning has a special colour and resonance, derived from its source in the overtone series. The melodies which open the work on solo viola and cello, returning with variations throughout, are always played without vibrato like Renaissance viols, and introduce the characteristic tuning world of the work. Hockets - melodies shared note-by-note between different instruments – are another frequently used device in the music: this melodic sharing was inspired by Brancusi's sculpture The Kiss, showing a couple locked together in ecstatic union. The sculpture also gave the entire orchestral piece its mood. Eden has a deliberately clear and transparent surface. It was composed for the CBSO as part of my appointment as Composer in Association, and is dedicated to Martyn Brabbins who conducted the first performance.
‘When reminded by Eden just how seductive a manipulator of orchestral textures Anderson is, and how superb his ear, one only wanted more of the sumptuous same to the concert’s end. His originality lies, I’m tempted to say, more than anywhere in that precision of ear.'
The Sunday Times (Paul Driver), 29 October 2017