CHAMBER WORKS

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Imitation (2019)

- Chamber Orchestra (1.1.1.1, 1.1.1.1, - Perc. Hp. Pno., 1.1.1.1)

- 8'00''

This work is for a chamber orchestra that features one of each orchestral instrument and explores imitation as a central concept. The musical lines often work in close canons between instruments, imitating each other to create dense and exciting textures. However, being the final project of my undergraduate degree, the work was also written as a homage to my various composition teachers and their influence over my music. Subtle stylistic references are peppered throughout and developed into a completely unique musical statement, thus reflecting the process of finding one’s own voice as an emerging artist. 

Propulsive Instability (2018)

- Chamber Orchestra (1.1.1.1, 2.0.0.0, 1.1.1.1)

- 7'40''

The title of this piece comes from the prominence of irregular metres throughout, and especially the use of irrational (or 'non-dyadic') time signatures, which have a distinct and fascinating stumbling or wonky effect on the music. However, this in no way slows the piece down - the complexity of this work showcases talented chamber groups through a whirlwind of exciting ideas that stem from Stravinskian rhythmic stabs.

Earworm (2018)

- Wind Quintet

- 7'30''

- Recieved second place in Arcadia Winds' Composition Competition

* Premiered by the Icarus Chamber Project on their 2019 regional NSW tour

Receiving second place in Arcadia Winds' 2018 Wind Quintet competition, this piece is an exciting modern twist on a theme and variations. Arcadia Winds has said, "We all loved how Ben took a simple idea and developed it with imagination and flair.” Subtitled Three Variations on a Three-Note Cell, this piece explores three different sound worlds, all of which feature quirky rhythms and intricate melodic interplay.

We Call B.S. (2018)

- Open Instrumentation

- 6'20''

* Premiered at Extended Play, August 2018

We Call B.S. addresses the issues of gun control in America and listening to young political voices. Inspired by a powerful speech by Emma González (a survivor of the Florida shooting in February, 2018), the pitch and rhythm of her words have been notated into a video-score. An ensemble of mixed instruments accompanies the speech, improvising with the precise rhythm and pitch-contour of each syllable. Essentially, the resulting cluster of sound intensifies the emotion in González's message by emphasising the shape of her speech. The improvisation in this piece is partly inspired by Louis Andriessen's Workers Union.

Cookie Cutter (2018)

- Trumpet in Bb, Trombone and Electronics (Max Patch)

- 4'00''

* Recorded for online release in 2018; performed by Alfie Carslake (trumpet) and Amy McCarthy (trombone)

Video

A short piece in two sections; after a calm electronic texture is explored, similar melodic themes become complex, lively and rhythmic over constantly expanding chords in contrary motion.

A computer program combined with a keyboard pedal allows the soloist to trigger certain layers of the electronic audio in their own time. Using this method, the piece becomes a duet between the performer and the electronics, as they can play freely and cue each section at their own pace.

Twitch (2017)

- Clarinet Quartet

- 7'00''

- Composed for The Clari Boys

* Premiered at 'What Could be Smetanin This?' in 2017

Video

Twitch is about the unpredictable and irregular. It takes a small amount of musical material and presents it in many different ways, in order to surprise the listener's expectations. Recurring rhythmic and melodic cells are shifted and displaced, so motifs which appear to be familiar are actually unpredictable. This is loosely inspired by shifting patterns such as physical twitches and bird calls. The piece was composed to showcase a quartet's ensemble skills, hence, the syncopation and rhythmic unity in Twitch poses a real challenge to any quartet.

Running, Thinking, Breathing (2016)

- Clarinet Quartet

- 4'00''

- Composed for The Clari Boys

* Premiered at a student concert in 2016

Audio

This piece is about the connection between the body and mind through the act of running. It partly depicts the mental process we experience when beginning a physical challenge and pushing through to its end. However, it also investigates our ability to calm a busy mind through physical activities like running, by focussing on the fundamental processes of movement and breathing.

Flute Dance (2017)

- Solo Flute

- 3'00'

* Premiered at 'What Could be Smetanin This?' in 2017

Audio

Flute Dance is a short, energetic piece which utilises the agility of the flute. Rather than conform to a fixed meter, it was composed using melodic and rhythmic cells which are presented, added together, repeated or rearranged. This piece was largely inspired by the dance music of Ross Edwards.

Expansion (2017)

- Alto Saxophone and Electronics (Max Patch)

- 9'45''

- Composed for Sam Weller

* Premiered at Konzertprojekt’s ‘Light Qualities’ as part of Vivid 2019

Audio

Expansion takes the listener on a journey from acoustic sound into electroacoustic sound. Opening with an expressive solo saxophone, the electronics subtly begin to mimic the soloist and eventually form a flowing texture over which the saxophone explores playful melodies. The texture continues to expand throughout the piece, culminating in the final wash of shimmering electronic colours. 

 

A computer program combined with a keyboard pedal allows the soloist to trigger certain layers of the electronic audio in their own time. Using this method, the piece becomes a duet between the performer and the electronics, as they can play freely and cue each section at their own pace.

Prelude to Red Hill (2016)

- Solo Piano

- 4'30''

* Recorded for digital release alongside poetry by photographs by David Malikoff and poetry by Hilary Elfick in 2016; performed by the composer

Video

Prelude to Red Hill was composed to accompany images and poetry by David Malikoff and Hilary Elfick (respectively), based on the theme of 'bushfires'. It follows the life of a fire from first spark, to raging flames, to dying smoke.

City Traffic (2016)

- Saxophone Quartet

- 3'00''

- Composed for Sarasax

* Premiered at a student concert in 2017

As the title suggests, this piece is inspired by the fast pace and impatience of the city. There are moments where the various saxophones are used to create specific traffic sounds such as car engines and traffic light walk signals. However, most of the piece is an attempt to represent a city experience through music, rather than being a completely literal soundscape.

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© Ben Robinson, 2019

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