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Unchartered Territories

Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
6 minutes
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts

Having heard Marc Uys and Jacqueline Kerrod play a programme of pieces for harp and violin at the 2008 Grahamstown Festival, I was moved to write Unchartered Territories for the duo. Completed in September 2008, the title draws on my experience of having moved to the Karoo region of South Africa. The region is dominated by wide open spaces, both flat and mountainous and is mainly a dessert. Being very rugged, much of the region has not been explored by mankind, hence territories that are as yet unchartered. The title could also reflect on our inner consciousness or spirituality, as I believe music can express these qualities in a way that words cannot.

The piece consists of two basic types of music that alternate; firstly slow and suggestive of an improvisation and, secondly, fast and dance-like. As the piece progresses, the music appears to explore new areas, especially towards the end, where it seems to ’dissolve’, implying that much is still left to be explored.

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