'.the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.' by Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond
(b. 1951)
'.the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.'

Note by the composer
'.the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.'
This quote from Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl', suggested to me by the work's dedicatee Tom Collins, matched perfectly in my mind the imagery which had pervaded my musical thoughts while I wrote this piece for Barry Douglas and Camerata Ireland. I wanted to conjure a gothic, dark hued, slightly melancholic, slightly melodramatic Hollywood movie mood - with a romantic hero, nocturnal and brooding.

The musical references of the piece are probably familiar to those of my generation brought up on an insubstantial diet of American television thrillers and serials - all in black and white!

The piece was written to be directed from the piano. I have consciously avoided virtuosity in favour of the atmosphere the pianist can create merely by his starring role, a driving force sitting at the centre of his ensemble. The '.starry dynamo.' was premièred at a special event in 2001 when President Clinton was being presented with an Honorary Doctorate by Queen's University Belfast- and yes, he and his daughter were both in the audience!

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