for chamber orchestra. 1985. Commissioned by the City of Heracleion, Crete. 12
minutes. No longer available for performance.
Omen was my first commissioned work from Greece. Musically
the entire work is based on the opening four notes: D, E, G, A-flat
which undergo extensive development throughout. This four-note
motif and the seven note scale which is derived from it have been
first used in Arcana, an earlier song
cycle and subsequently, and more extensively, in Prisma,
a chamber piece. Like in Prisma, here
too these four notes are often associated with the overtone series
on C of which they constitute the 9th, 10th, 12th and 13th partials.
The work consists of two distinct sections which follow each other
without a brake. The first is slower and quasi-improvisatory in
sound, while the second which starts at measure 65 is very tight
and rhythmically driven. The title of the work alludes to the
musical mood of the piece and has otherwise no particular meaning.
Omen was one of the first works of mine specifically influenced
by my gradual re-awakening to the tenets of non-denominational
Christianity and by my attraction to the mysticism of the eastern
Church in particular. This is an 'one idea piece' in terms of
its motivic, melodic and harmonic content, and like most 'one
idea pieces' it is heavily dependent upon orchestration to convey
its musical information. Care should be taken in performance to
ensure that the types of percussion instruments used, mutes for
the brass instruments, or the sound derived from playing multiple
strings simultaneously by the string players are consistent with
the overall sound that the piece calls for.
Flute, oboe, clarinet in B-flat, bassoon, French horn in F, trumpet
in C, trombone, piano (without the lid), 2 percussion, string
orchestra (1-6, 1-6, 1-6, 1-4, 1-3)
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