By Luna Pearl Woolf | For Violin, Cello, and Percussion | 30′
Title: Mélange à trois
Composer: Luna Pearl Woolf
Year Composed: 2014
Instrumentation: For Violin, Cello and Percussion
Format: Full Score
Page Size: Tabloid landscape (17″x11″)
Catalog Number: OM0136
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From the composer:
Commissioned by percussionist Krystina Marcoux for her ensemble BIK, Mélange à Trois is a piece of instrumental theater, set for violin, cello and percussion. In this wordless opera, each musician embodies a character in a dramedic tale of misplaced and regained love.
The work exploits the beauty and physicality of percussion instruments to set the stage –
from an intimate scene between percussionist and cellist – where the body of the cello is the percussionist’s instrument – to a sculpture garden where chimes, bells, and drums share statuesque frameworks with abstract thunder-sheets – to a dining table set for three where all the trappings of a finely arrayed table-setting give expression to the percussionist’s voice.
Our story opens on a couple just stirring from sleep. Their intimacy is clear, but their personalities could not be more disparate: the cellist is contemplative and open-hearted, the percussionist impatient and domineering. Arising from their bed, the pair find themselves in a stranger’s garden, exploring the sounds of the sculptures therein. The violinist enters, surprising them. As the handsome and mysterious owner of the manor, he welcomes them and proudly introduces them to the secrets of his garden, catching the percussionist’s interest as he does.
An invitation to dinner ensues and the three sit down to a lavish table. Polite exchanges are soon overtaken by blatant flirtation between percussionist and violinist, amid protestations from the cellist. Finally pushed to action, boiling with fury, the cellist challenges his rival to a duel, and, with bows flying, the two stringed instruments do battle at a break-neck pace. At the height of the struggle a transformation comes over both strings – as though each has revealed a side of himself never fully owned or understood before. What was a fiery contest of wills becomes the startling discovery of attraction, and, as understanding and sympathy blossoms between the two men, attraction grows into something deeper. Observing this stunning development, the percussionist interjects forcefully, but she is left ignored and confused by the newly intertwined pair. Even in her anger she is forced to con-
cede her former lover’s faultless happiness, and she carries her disappointment off stage as the newfound couple build their own, more compatible language together.
Commission/Dedication: To Krystina Marcoux. This work was developed during a residency in the Music & Sound department of the Banff Centre.