Two Particles

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
9 minutes
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts
Not available

�Two Particles� is a sonic realisation of the behaviour of alpha and beta particles undergoing radioactive decay.

The work is orchestrated for full symphony orchestra, utilising an extended percussion section. The structure of the piece follows a modified sonata form. Please email for a more detailed account of the programme of this work, including details of specific quantum mechanical particle behaviour, their compositional properties and graphical representations of orchestration.

After a short introduction the first subject begins at bar 76. The first subject is constructed in a bi-tonal fashion with the violins and cellos being set a tone apart. This polychordal technique of structuring melodic lines is used extensively by the American composer Jennifer Higdon (1962 - ), and is particularly prominent in her works �City Scape� (2002) and �Blue Cathedral� (1999).

In contrast to the more melodious first subject, the second subject, at bar 145, is built around a dynamic modal scale The woodwind initiate this figure before passing it over to string section. Throughout this subject the scale is developed through fragmenting and extending in a manner reminiscent of the rhythmic cell structural development of Igor Stravinsky (1882 � 1971).

The development section begins at bar 199 and starts with the percussion and reed imitating a gamelan ensemble, a technique much employed by the award winning composer Christopher Theofanidis (1967 - ). Throughout this section there is much juxtaposition of material from the first and second subjects in conjunction with new material such as the gamelan imitation and dissonant brass bell tone effects.

A �false� recapitulation begins at bar 264 in a similar fashion to the artificial recapitulations in many of Joseph Haydn�s (1732 - 1809) string quartets. The initial col legno effect soon yields to more Stravinsky-like developmental bridge passage. The first subject then re-appears at bar 297 as the beginning of the coda section. A more dissonant approach is used for this section as the first and second subjects battle for auditory supremacy. The work closes in an almost frenzied, chaotic mode evoking thoughts of the finale of Stravinsky�s �Rite of Spring�.

Please email for parts.

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