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Thea Musgrave

Publisher: Novello & Co

Sunrise (2009)
Commissioned by Backshore Artists Project Inc. on the occasion of Carol Wincenc's 40th anniversary on concert stage and underwritten by a generous grant from Linda and Stuart Nelson.
Novello & Co Ltd
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
10 Minutes
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Programme Note
Thea Musgrave Sunrise (2009)
Commissioned by Backshore Artists Project Inc. on the occasion of Carol Wincenc’s fortieth anniversary and underwritten by a grant from Linda and Stuart Nelson. First performance, 22 February 2010 at the Morgan Library, New York, by Les Amies (Carol Wincenc, flute; Nancy Allen, harp; Cynthia Phelps, viola).

The work is dedicated to Carol Wincenc for this very special occasion.

It starts slowly with the alto flute leading to a dark dream-like section with a theme that is marked rubato, seductive. The viola echoes this melody but tries to move it to another key. Eventually the tempo quickens as the harp adds a new theme which the others soon copy.

A new svegliato (awakening) follow where the harp and viola encourage the flute to join them in a sprightly scherzo which grows to a climax to herald the sunrise. Here the viola leads with a glowing theme. After the flute has echoed this melody the mood quietens and in a peaceful coda the flute ‘remembers’ the theme from the very opening: it is now bathed in sunlight and is marked luminous.

© 2009 Thea Musgrave

In her painterly Sunrise, Thea Musgrave makes full use of the qualities and flexibility of each instrument, opening the piece with gently chromatic rolling harp chords and a sinuous alto flute melody that the viola quickly takes up. As the work unfolds, meditative flute lines are offset by more outgoing (and, in Ms. Phelps’s performance, interestingly textured) viola figures, with the harp often taking up and expanding on the flute and viola themes.
Allan Kozinn, New York Times,23/02/2010
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