About this work:
The Cygnus Ensemble’s unique instrumentation seems to have a precedent in the seventeenth-century “English consort”; this popular ensemble typically consisted of one recorder or flute, two bowed string instruments, and three plucked string instruments. Cygnus replaces one of the plucked instruments with oboe, thus creating pairings of kindred instruments. For the most part, Broken Consortini avoids these pairings, preferring instead subgroups of the broken consort that are themselves broken consorts (i.e. consortini).
The piece is doubly inspired by the music of Milton Babbitt: its 12-tone structure is a transformed and broken up version of that of his Consortini; and its surface details, built around a dramatic conflict between cycles of fifths and of semitones, were heavily influenced by William Anderson’s article on Babbitt’s own Cygnus piece, Swan Song #1.
Year composed: 2009
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 6-9 players
Instrumentation: 1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Violin, 1 Cello, 2 Guitar (Classical/Acoustic)