no chaos: only organised panic (2011) by Karen Power

no chaos: only organised panic (2011)
Note by Karen Power


I wrote this piece especially for this concert programme. Although I started work on the piece on my return, I was thinking about it while travelling and making sound recordings in Hong Kong, north-eastern Australia and Tokyo. The Australian outback nightscape is for me one of the fullest sounds in our world. At times, it is so loud that you can't sleep. and then comes the dawn chorus! Here in Ireland we always speak of our beautiful landscape, but do we ever think of our inspiring soundscapes? This country is full of the most amazing sounds that seamlessly flow in and out of each other, just like any great symphony.

In this work, nature meets the orchestra. The orchestra itself is treated as a soundscape, made up of 45 different voices (the strings have been subdivided into 4 groups each). Temporary and unusual alliances are made between instruments based on their physicality within the orchestra so that the music swells and moves around the group just like a swirling wind as it journeys through a valley.

As with all healthy relationships, nature and man do not always exist in 'harmony' - pardon the pun! This work moves away from any sense of tonality, following sounds from our everyday environments that do not adhere to our harmonic structures and yet, at times, such sounds move together with great ease. At other times, they just exist, side by side, part of something bigger, but maintaining independence. The sonorities in no chaos: only organised panic edge their way closer together, trying to find some way to communicate with each other, in search of a means to coexistence.

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