Prorrhesis (March 2011)
Tenor trombone (player to be seated) and 2 differently pitched bass drums both operated by foot-pedal. Duration circa 13 minutes.
Commissioned by Dirk Amrein. First performance May 2011 – International Trombone Conference – Brazil.
Prorrhesis has been composed of a particular composition and performance aesthetic. Some of the music contained in this score is intentionally impossible to play at speed. Large leaps across registers, rapid execution of quarter tones and very fast, precisely notated passage work all contribute to the many challenges faced by the performer. I do not anticipate a ‘perfect’ performance and realise that some aspects of this piece will need to be ‘sketched-out’, approximated and to a certain extent, improvised to realise the music I have written. Flexibility is the key to production.
Whilst every care should be taken to be true to the manuscript within areas that this is possible and practical, interpretation and ‘best-attempt’ are desirable outcomes at points of extreme virtuosity or impossibility. In pushing what is technically possible to the absolute limit and sometimes beyond, a brave, risk-taking performer will exceed the usual confines of their own technique to capture something of the colour, energy, risk and dynamism of the music that ‘safer’ forms of notation and performance style would inhibit.
What is notated is an ideal. What is performed is a flexible realisation of that ideal.
Prorrhesis: historical context
Prorrhesis was part of the ancient Greek Eleusinian Mysteries. Prorrhesis was the official announcement of the start of the rites. This announcement occurred on the 15th day of Boedromion (September) and was given by the hierophantes.