Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Frozen river

 A walk along the river in the midst of winter. The sun will soon disappear behind the hills. The air is thin. Upstream, deep snow covers the slopes towards the river. Here, footsteps have smoothened the snow on the river path. Still silence. No mid-register gurgling of the water that gives a glimpse of the inner voice of the river. Only when one tunes in to it, one hears the higher-pitched lisping of the ice. The strong current prevents the river from freezing over. Instead, ice crystals float on the currents. Underlying voices reveal themselves by continuously changing the ice crystal’s orientation on their journey downstream. Circles embedded in a line. 


The inspiration for Frozen River, a composition for glockenspiel. piano and cello, comes from one of composer Petra Vergunst’s many wintry walks along the river Dee in the Northeast of Scotland. She uses the glockenspiel and whole-tone scale to evoke the experience of the thin air on a cold mid-winter afternoon whilst the cello captures the voice of the river.  

Composer Petra Vergunst works as a community musician whilst studying Advanced Music with the Open College of the Arts. Interested in a wide range of environmental, social and cultural issues, and working across the arts, Petra often combines her musical compositions with narrated and/or sung texts to express the experiences and thoughts behind her compositions. To reinforce the narrative character of her music she likes to resemble her musical utterances with spoken ones, and arranges them in the form of a dialogue. Conscious choices of traditional key relations and/or atonal techniques, sometimes in combination, help her express underlying intentions.

In the arrangement for flute, trumpet and cello, Frozen Rover was played by The Red Note Ensemble at Noisy Nights in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. In an arrangement for glockenspiel, piano and cello, the composition came runner-up in a competition by the Open College of the Arts Student Association.

Copyright text and music Petra Vergunst

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