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Full Score of George Benjamin's At First Light for Chamber Orchestra.
Published by Faber Music.

Instrumentation: 1(=afl+picc).1.1(=bcl).1(=cbsn) - 1.1(=ptpt)1.0 - perc(1): 4 susp.cym/2 tgl/2 crot/gong/vib/guiro/mcas/whip/tpl.bl/ping-pong ball/flat-bottomed drinking glass/large newspaper/tam-t/SD - pno(=cel) - 2 vln.vla.vlc.db

'In the Tate Gallery there is a late Turner oil painting, Norham Castle, Sunrise. The 12th century castle in this picture is silhouetted against a huge, golden sun. What struck me immediately about this beautiful image was the way in which solid objects – fields, cows and the castle itself – virtually appear to have melted under the intense sunlight. It is as if the paint were still wet. Abstractly, this observation has been important to the way I have composed the piece. A ‘solid object’ can be formed as a punctuated, clearly defined musical phrase. This can be ‘melted’ into a flowing, nebulous continuum of sound. There can be all manner of transformations and interactions between these two ways of writing. Equally important, however, this piece is a contemplation of dawn, a celebration of the colours and noises of daybreak. It is set in three movements: in the short, opening one, superimposed fanfares burst into hazy, undefined textures. After a pause the extended second movement follows, itself subdivided into several contrasted sections, full of abrupt changes in mood and tension. The concluding movement arrives without a break, and progresses in a continuous, flowing line illuminated with ever more resonant harmonies.'

~ George Benjamin

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