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Shepherd, SeanBlur (2011) 12'
for ensemble

1(=picc).2(II=corA).2(I=Ebcl,II=bcl).2- tree/brake drs/claves/iron pipe/splash.cym/susp.cym/3tgl(sm,med,lo)/tamb/wdbl; II=glsp/amlglocken/antique cyms/BD/cabasa/crot/Japanese temple bowl/maracas/ratchet/slapstock/sleigh bells/spring coil/tam-t/t.bells/vibraslap-harp-kbd-2vln.2vla.2vlc.db.
Abbreviations (PDF).

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
Cité de la musique, Paris
Ensemble intercontemporain / Susanna Mälkki

Composer's Notes  
On planes and trains, I much prefer the window seat. When I’m moving fast, I like to be aware of it, and I usually prefer gazing out the window to reading a newspaper. In changing focus from the blades of grass or clouds just outside the window to the ranges and oceans in the furthest, haziest horizon, one can let their eyes drift from point to point, and to all points in between, and begin to see a world at different speeds, even though it is only oneself doing the moving. Rapid travel also makes me aware of everything I cannot be seeing (and to a lesser extent, everything that cannot see me). Cities often seem oddly empty from the air, and on the ground, high-speed means missing the pace and action of daily life altogether. One is simply moving too quickly to take it in.

The music in Blur moves very fast much of the time. Close to the surface, things fly by. Layers emerge, with objects appearing, moving and evolving at differing intervals and rates of change. The music of greatest intensity comes in a broad swath near the middle of the piece—it is the invisible, solid pit that makes an otherwise delicate peach (or tangy avocado) much more difficult to slice through. Blur is meant as a kind of romp: ebullient, frenetic, insistent and joyful. I dedicate it to Magnus Lindberg as a humble homage, with gratitude.

Blur was commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and premiered in Paris at the Cité de la musique on January 10, 2012, with Susanna Mälkki, conducting.

— Sean Shepherd

Reproduction Rights:
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.

News stories for this title :

  • Sean Shepherd at Tanglewood, Lucerne and Musica Strasbourg festivals

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