Oryq

(2007)
Morten Olsen
0.0.1.1/1.0.0.0/perc (24 tuned gongs)/1.1.1.1.1
9+ instr
23:42
2008
B.0542
B4, 44 pages

The resonance of 24 tuned gongs add mystery to Oryq. First performed at an Esbjerg concert that included the Schubert Octet, it is scored for the same ensemble of clarinet, horn, bassoon and string quintet, and is also in six movements. In the composer's words, "the gongs are an extra element, a solo part in the work which, on the other hand, is not a solo piece for gongs and ensemble." Likewise, though Schubert's music is magically recalled in the rapt stillness of the second movement, it is not the point of the piece, though an undoubted accessory to the act.

Rather, and without anachronism, Oryq creates a modern divertimento from values of purely musical connectedness. Thus the second movement is both a point of arrival after the preludial opening, and is itself vested with a sense of incompleteness that in turn demands a sequel. In the final movement, the opening litanies for gongs and violin return conclusively. Before that, two brief and brutal scherzi (movements three and five) add to the unity of contrasts, the former both dogged and aggressive, the second offsetting gritty string chords with a chant-like horn and rebellious bass clarinet. Here, as in the opening movement, the persistent background of gongs in even notes suggests fluidity. Even so, the fact that in Uzbekian dialect Oryq refers to a kind of watering channel was unknown to the composer when he chose the word for its purely phonetic quality.

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