david horne

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Splintered Instruments



first performance: February 19, 2005

venue: Wigmore Hall, London

performer(s): Nash Ensemble, conducted by Diego Masson

scoring: fl. cl. harp solo. vn1.vn2.va.vc

click here for pdf of score (pages 1-8)- will open in new window

click here for pdf of score (pages 39-43)- will open in new window

programme note:

Splintered Instruments, written for harp and ensemble, lasts around 12 minutes and is in one continuous movement. The role of the harp is not just as soloist, setting a musical 'agenda' for the other players, but also as something of a sonic catalyst. In my mind, I imagined the harp gradually picking up the rest of the ensemble and building a super-instrument. The initial fragmentation of the ensemble caused by this approach suggested the title. Every motif from the harp is tugged around by the other players, thrown into relief, and debated. At its most obvious, string pizzicati and other sharp outbursts ricochet around the harp gestures, but the ensemble also adds 'resonance' to the harp lines, gradually building cohesiveness and independence. This dialogue builds up with increasing virtuosic intensity until a series of repetitive harp gestures subdues the other instruments at the work's close.

David Horne,
Manchester, February 2005

selected press reviews:

""Full of vivid, expansive gestures, it was as if the glissandos and plucked attacks of the harp had taken over the whole ensemble. Swirls of colour mixed with one another, creating a musical kaleidoscope.

The Nash's performance was supple and expressive, encompassing the becalmed ripples of the slow music at the centre of the piece and the sonic splintering of the final section, with fierce string pizzicatos and the uncanny buzzing of [Lucy] Wakeford's harp. For all its fragmentation, Horne's music achieved a satisfying continuity, and a coherent, ever-evloving structure.""

The Guardian

"In the previous evening's late night [Prom] concert, the ever-resourceful Nash Ensemble, directed by Martyn Brabbins, played two contemporary chamber works, both of them homing in on the harp. Elliott Carter's "Mosaic" and David Horne's "Splintered Instruments" explore the potential of the harp in harmony with a small group of woodwind and string instruments, both works creating kaleidoscopic patterns in music that was as ingeniously crafted as it was effective."

Daily Telegraph

other works

complete list. opera/theatrical. orchestral. ensemble. chamber. solo. vocal/choral.