2 (I + picc., bass fl, II + bass fl).1.2 (I + picc.Eb cl, II + bass cl).sop sax Bb.1 – 126.96.36.199, – pno/harm, 2/3 perc. – 188.8.131.52.1
Three Old Gramophones examines symbolism in music, principally in two ways. Firstly, it presents music that appears ‘familiar’ in a generally unmodified way. Secondly, it envelops this music with another layer of sonorities that may appear recognisable, though not necessarily in the context in which it is heard. Three Old Gramophones uses both ‘private’ and ‘shared’ symbolism. ‘Two Gentlemen in Japan’ re-works the overture to The Mikado, manipulating it to sound rather more like genuine Japanese Gagaku court music. This ‘shared’ element examines Edlin’s personal political stance that the West has often abused its relationship with the East. Sousa’s composition El Capitan was (apparently) the last piece to be played as the Titanic sank. El Capitan’s famous demise envelops this piece with fragments of familiar ‘sea related’ pieces. The final piece has several subtexts: principally a re-enactment of a scene in a story by Gabriel García Marquez, where an old woman retells her youthful memories to her granddaughter as they listen to a quasi-Hispanic tune on an old ‘78’. On another level, it also pays a personal tribute to a life tragically cut short. The score also explores new techniques in instrumental timbres and new approaches to notation, where individual musicians ‘lead’ varying groups of instruments, while the conductor maintains an overview of proceedings.
© Paul Max Edlin 2005
Perusal score available on request and on deposit