Composer: Garth Knox (b. 1956)
Performance date: 25/06/2022
Venue: St. Brendan’s Church
Composition Year: 2018
Recording Engineer: Jason Fallon, Ergodos
Diamanda Dramm -
Garth Knox [b.1956]
Violin Spaces 
1. Skating 5. No pitch, no problem
2. Up above our heads 6. Sliding
3. Microtonal Blues 7. The Raven
4. Ten Fingers 8. Rick O’Shea
This dazzling demonstration of violin virtuosity began life as eight concert studies for viola, the composer’s instrument.
Interpreters of classical music can study technical exercises (scales, arpeggios, finger exercises, etc.) confident in the knowledge that these patterns will be useful in playing classical pieces. Due to the extreme diversity of styles in new music today, it is now more often a case of constructing a new technique to reply to the demands of a new piece. There are however recurring techniques which can be studied, among these the so-called “extended techniques” (usually meaning classical techniques taken a little further). I had the idea to write a series of pieces which explore these techniques.Each piece (or « space ») concentrates on one specific technique.
These exercises aroused considerable interest amongst string players and the eight studies were re-written for Diamanda Dramm to whom they are dedicated. Skating explores splitting notes into their sub-atomic parts. Up above our heads is about harmonics and the sounds that float above us. Microtonal Blues is self-explanatory with an off-stage bagpipes imitation at the end. Ten fingers means no bow. No pitch, no problem is a three minute, mostly rhythmic study in the kind of noises contemporary composers delight in. Sliding takes glissando to interesting extremes. The Raven is bow without pitch, a ghastly grim and ancient Raven with ghostly whisperings of nevermore. Rick O’Shea brings us bow juggling carried to head-spinning extremes.
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