‘The Scream’ for String Orchestra - Thomas Simaku – World Premiere

Based on Edvard Munch’s iconic painting, Thomas Simaku’s new work, The Scream, will receive its world premiere in Cambridge on 17 November 2017. It will be performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by King’s College Director of Music Stephen Cleobury. 

Of this substantial piece lasting 20 minutes, Thomas Simaku writes:

‘The iconic painting by Edvard Munch was the main impulse for writing this piece - hence the title. Its “silent scream” whose echo spans (and can be heard) well beyond the painting's time and frame, struck a chord with me for its resonance with our modern times.

In no way programmatic, the music here focuses on the concentrated form of expression that emanates from the space, the colours, and the gritty intensity of the “deafening silence” in Munch's painting.

 

Stemming from a single line - hence, the vocal quality imbedded in the overall melodic expression of the strings is at the centre here - there are a variety of “screamingly-based” sonorities, “vocal” or otherwise, throughout the piece. They cover a wide spectrum of dynamics, and range from very soft and delicate to furiously loud and tumultuous textures, as if reaching our modern times from the remoteness of time itself.

 

These linear manifestations occupy the whole registral gamut of the strings in a symphony orchestra, and are presented in a variety of formats ranging from static (sometimes tenaciously motionless) horizontal lines, through various heterophonic bundles progressively moving at their own pace, to different ‘diagonal’ sliding lines (microtonally inflected or otherwise) that overlap with, and echo, one another.'

 

(2 Oct 2017)

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