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Richard Reed Parry

Publisher: Chester Music

For Heart, Breath and Orchestra (2009)
Chester Music Ltd
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
12 Minutes
Programme Note
Richard Reed Parry For Heart, Breath and Orchestra (2009)
This piece is based around the idea of using the widely varying internal rhythms of the performers’ bodies as performance parameters.

There is no actual tempo or meter built into the piece. The breathing rates of the conductor and soloist are used in alternation with the individual performers’ heart rates to determine the pace at which all of the musical material is played. The performers wear stethoscopes positioned over their hearts so that each can follow his or her own heart rate, and play along with it as closely as possible.

The stethoscopes require that the performers generally play quietly and delicately so as to be able to hear their heartbeats adequately. This, in combination with the natural variance between the different heart rates, results in a kind of delicate musical “pointillism”: starts and stops which are somewhat staggered, parts which repeatedly line up and fall out of synch with each other, different individuals’ pulses rising and falling.

The piece is never performed exactly the same way twice.

All instruments are amplified.

  • Ensemble
    Kronos Quartet
    Nadia Sirota, Richard Reed Parry, Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner
    Nico Muhly
    Deutsche Grammophon:
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