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Nigel Keay - Symphonie en Cinq Mouvements (1996)

Durée : 24 minutes. Mouvement 1; Introduction - Moderato 3'53", Mouvement 2; Andante 3'32", Mouvement 3; Scherzo - Vivace 5'09", Mouvement 4; Andante 6'17", Mouvement 5; Allegro Moderato 5'28".

Enregistré par la station Concert FM, de Radio Nouvelle Zélande Radio New Zealand logo
AUDIO; Mouvement 1 mp3   Mouvement 2 mp3   Mouvement 3 mp3   Mouvement 4 mp3   Mouvement 5 mp3

Instrumentation: 3 Flûtes (3rd doubling Piccolo), 2 hautbois (2nd doubling Cor Anglais), 2 Clarinettes (2nd doubling Clarinette basse) 1 Basson, Contrebasson, 4 Cors en F, 2 Trompettes in C, 2 Tenor Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Timbales, 3 Percussion (tambour militaire, caisse sourde, Grosse caisse, Triangle, Suspended Cymbal, Bell Tree, Cimbale chinois, Cimbales, Tam-tam, Castanets, Maracas, jeu de timbres, Xylophon, cloches), Harpe, Cordes.
Symphonie en Cinq Mouvements a été écrit en Auckland en 1995/96 pour l'Orchestre Philharmonique d'Auckland pour son programme de Compositeur en Résidence. La Symphonie a été créée le 1 août 1996 au Centre Aotea à Auckland.

La temporalité est inscrite au cœur de la Symphonie en cinq mouvements. Sa forme s'inspire en partie d'un traité d'Art Martial, Go Rin No Sho ou le livre des cinq anneaux, qui examine les relations entre temporalité et stratégie. Les cinq mouvements de la symphonie reprennent chacun, de façon plus ou moins allusive, les images centrales des cinq livres de ce traité : la terre, l'eau, le feu, le vent et le vide. Ainsi, le troisième mouvement fait allusion au livre de la tradition, "le vent." C'est un scherzo qui, non seulement rend hommage à Beethoven, mais qui émet aussi le désir de placer l'œuvre dans un cadre historique et musical.

Le premier mouvement, introduction de l'œuvre représente le livre de la terre, indiquant la "voie" prise par la symphonie ainsi que ses principales idées musicales.

Le cinquième mouvement, le vide a une structure rythmique très marquée, inspirée en partie des rythmes du jazz et du rock, et sur laquelle se superpose la ligne lyrique du violon.

Denys Trussell a jugé cette œuvre "riche en émotion et en atmosphère" après sa création par l'Orchestre Philharmonique d'Auckland en 1996.


The fourth and fifth movements were given a reading by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich at the NZSO - SOUNZ Readings in October 2001 in Wellington.

Peter Mechen reviewed this event, and wrote:

"Nigel Keay’s Symphony in Five Movements (1996) was the first featured work, the composer submitting the final two movements of the piece for rehearsal and performance. Keay drew some of his inspiration for the Symphony from a treatise on martial arts which considers the relationship of timing to strategy, loosely correlating sections of the book with the movements of the Symphony. The fourth movement uses scherzo-form, acknowledging the traditional sonata-structure, while the fifth movement’s strongly rhythmical character intersperses a string-based lyrical flow with contemporary colouristic influences.

The composer obviously enjoys the full orchestral palette enormously, and prefers to blend rather than « block in » the colours at his disposal. A clarinet solo begins the scherzo-movement, breathing life into slumbering, subterranean matter whose string-infused textures are galvanised by the sharper glint of the brass. The music’s deep-toned and lushly-harmonised aspect contrasts well with the last movement’s breezy, « out-of-doors » quality, with soaring string lines and clarion brass calls at the opening. The movement’s undulating aspect seems to be achieved by a piecing-together of surprisingly volatile individual voices - evident when Hamish McKeich rehearsed the string section separately - and some intricate dovetailing of rhythms through and around the central « lyrical stream ». I particularly enjoyed a beautiful coalescing episode involving different strands of colour, just before an abrupt coda put an end to all argument."

Source; Peter Mechen's New Zealand Music Reviews under the section "Live Performances (Events)".

Denys Trussell's review published in the February 1997 edition of Quote Unquote after its Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra performance in 1996:

"Nigel Keay's Symphony In Five Movements... is an introspective work of primeval musical struggle, its aural shapes emerging from that undifferentiated state of sound before it broke out of the mass of the uncreated to become figures of vibrant air. This important, proto-musical zone was explored at times both by Bruckner and Wagner. The five movements relate to five chapters of The Book Of Five Rings, a martial arts treatise. These chapters "Ground", "Fire", "Water", "Wind" and "Void" - have a loose correspondence to the music, particularly "Void" with the last movement. Within its primordial nothingness lies tremendous potential. It was this potential I felt the work attempted to map, using the flux of sound. was rich with feeling and atmosphere."