The Quest For The Seagull´s Beak
Composer: Henrik Cornelius
Instrument: Percussion Quartet
Duration: 8 min.
The musical foundation of "The Quest For The Seagull's Beak" is the G double harmonic minor scale (also known as the G Hungarian minor scale), which has D as a beautiful symmetrical center, both visually on the keyboard (illustration below) and musically as the dominant of G. In the beginning of the piece, it appears that this essential, central note has gone missing, and the musicians start their search, creating both anxiety and dissonance. Eventually, when the D is found, peace and harmony can be restored by a natural G minor scale. The many accidentals in the score, are due to the G double harmonic minor scale being a strange mixture of D major and G minor.
Searching for something is also a key idea behind the performance of the work: the search for common, equal sound and musical phrasing. In the introduction, all of the performers gather around the glockenspiel and a small piece of melody is handed down from one player to the next, with each musician building on what they are given. The same mallet is thus passed on like a baton in a relay race. Maybe the musical input will come along?
Marimba (5 Octave) - shared by players 1, 3 & 4
Glockenspiel - shared by all players
Concert Bass Drum
Wood Block (small, high-pitched)
Darbuka (optional pair of Bongo Drums)
Wind Chimes - shared by players 2 & 3
About the composer +
Henrik Cornelius serves as Principal Timpani of the Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester (South Denmark Philharmonic). He has a passion for playing virtuoso solo works for vibraphone and has co-edited an Edition Svitzer publication of Max Seide Leth's works and events. Henrik is also a dedicated chamber musician, organizer, teacher and lecturer. He received his training in percussion from The Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Sketch: Henrik Cornelius
Translation: Phil Brown
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