ymrehanne krestos (2012-13)

For flugelhorn, alto trombone and percussion

Commissioned by/written for: ELISION Ensemble

Programme Note:

ymrehanne krestos is an ancient rock-hewn (former) monastery in northern Ethiopia. Unlike other such structures in this area, ymrehanne krestos is carved into a vertical rock face, whereas as the others are carved downwards into the region’s rocky plateaus. As such, the monastery has a much more singular viewpoint than its counterparts, only the ornate façade of the building is immediately visible.

The piece is constructed from four duets, originally composed for the brass, each utilising a single physical parameter of brass performance technique (articulation, valve/side patterns, the harmonic series and dynamics). Rather than being presented sequentially, the duets are superimposed, creating wild and frenetic material as the conditions imposed by the original materials collide and corrupt one another. This textural canvas this then ‘scrubbed’ and, at different moments, one or more of the duets removed, revealing (or semi-revealing) the more stable patterns that lie beneath the piece’s chaotic surface.

The piece was written for the ELISION ensemble and first performed by them on the 1st February at the National University of Singapore, Singapore, conducted by Tony Makarome.


Approximately 11 minutes

Score Excerpt: