David Chisholm on his BIFEM World Premiere

24 Jul 2019
  • Musician Spotlight
by Ashleigh McManus

Last year we made our first ever visit to Victoria, to perform at BIFEM (Bendigo International Festival of Experimental Music).

In this clip we’re performing the ‘…and I am but an echo, a ghost, a mirror of your flower’ world premiere, composed by David Chisholm and performing under the baton of Eric Dudley.

Below, David Chisholm discusses the piece and where it came from:

and I am but an echo, a ghost, is a shadow work, beginning out of barely audible materials which gradually find weight only to dissipate once again. It is like waking up from a dream within a dream, unsure of where to situate reality. the mirror of your flower is a revisionist-Romantic work, a meta-commentary on the orchestra as an entity itself, so full of memories of the music that has passed through it.

Two works bound together as one, it is modelled as an inversion of the Narcissus/Echo myth, where the latter fades away to nothing but a whisper chasing someone else’s voice. Here we start with echo and work backward gradually adding in limited pitch, colour,and line. The second work then is pure narcissism,  

Working with both the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in the evolution of these two mirrored works has been a wonderful and rare experience. To make music and spend time with two amazing groups of people, and their skill and generosity represent a luxury denied most composers and yet so essential to the exploration of colour, and the creation of the new. The community orchestra and the professional orchestra provided contrasting opportunities that further served to infuse elements of the myth that sits behind the pieces. For bringing it to life, my gratitude lies with the players and the conductors, Rohan Phillips for Bendigo and  Eric Dudley for Adelaide.

— David Chisholm

(this program note was originally published on Babel Scores)

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