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Stars of ours (2014)

Solo percussion. 10:00+.

Stars of Ours is a series of sound textures or situations for percussion soloist, the third solo piece I’ve written for Vanessa Tomlinson (after “Hypnotic Strains” and “Spill”).  I was inspired by the work of Vinko Globokar, Jean Charles François, and Vanessa herself to explore hybrid instrumental combinations.  Starting with a small collection of instruments – bass drum, 2 triangles, splash cymbal, gong, wind chimes – the piece investigates a number of unconventional combinations.  The instruments are not played individually, but rather in combination - one instrument plays another, resonates on another, or otherwise influences the sound of another.


The piece is presented as a series of cards, one for each section / texture / situation.  The cards consist of a list and diagram of instruments, and a description of the action, sometimes including musical notation.  For example, “hold the two triangles by the strings, and clang them against each other gently.”  While developing the piece, both Vanessa and I became interested in the relationship of the description of the sounds, to the actual sounds.  This duality has become a central part of the piece.  Some of the triangle textures, in particular, seemed to have the shimmer of stars.


Stars of Ours was composed for Vanessa Tomlinson's "8 Hits" project, with support from the Australia Council for the Arts.   It was premiered 1 November 2014 at Studio 420, Brisbane.

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