Metanoia

Music for instruments

Listen to realisation
Listen to performance

 

Metanoia is a composition for a variable ensemble of instruments lasting about 20 minutes, It redefines the whole condition of ensemble performance and returns the musician to a performance practice of earlier times, when so much of what was presented by a composer on a notated score held a more speculative nature than it does today. Yet it makes use of aspects of auditioning, simulation and modeling through digital technologies to enable a score to be reinvented and re-presented for each performance or recording.
The word metanoia means a ‘turning around of the mind’. The composition Metanoia likewise turns around contemporary preoccupations with instrumental timbre and dynamic effect towards a concentration on and celebration of the elements of melody, rhythm and the polyphony of voices. The score is written for the most part in four polyphonic lines. There are no accompaniment figures or devices. The music is relentlessly democratic and may be performed by any ensemble of instruments from four players upwards. The orchestration and instrumentation is entirely free.


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Listen to performance

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Metanoia was commissioned in 1986 for Norwich Students Orchestra and performed in the UK and Germany by this ensemble in two quite different versions. It was the first major work of the composer to use micro-computer technology as a direct reference environment for composition. The first London performance, at the City University’ Science and Music’ Conference in 1987, was of a version by Peter Britton for electric guitars, sax doubling bass clarinet, horn doubling synthesizer, percussion doubling electric keyboard and computer-driven synthesizer.

 

Metanoia has considerable potential as a work for student musicians, particularly those attached to colleges where fielding the standard orchestral forces can be problematic. The composition has been widely performed in such circumstances, often employing large percussion sections, keyboards and guitars, brass band instruments – even recorders. The work also offers student composers and conductors a unique opportunity to experiment with orchestration. Notable student performances have taken place at the universities of Leeds and Bristol and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.


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Listen to performance

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In 2006 Metanoia was extensively revised. A new digital realisation was commissioned from Phil Legard to
replace the original reference recording devised by the composer prior to the first performance in 1988. This new version, available as an MP3 download from the composer’s website, can be a valuable aid in the rehearsal and realisation process of bringing Metanoia to performance. It may also be used as the basis of an electronic continuo part in a number of specially remixed versions, including one for solo instrument and digital accompaniment. Metanoia is now freely available in a downloadable study score in C. Performance scores in Bb, Eb, F, and G are available for sale or hire in a B5 part-book format on request. Finale, Sibelius and Nightingale files of the work are also available to enable the production of individual parts where necessary.

 


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Listen to performance

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A MIDIfile of the work is available to enable performers to create their own reference, rehearsal or continuo material. For Macintosh users the score of Metanoia can also be read from a downloadable Nightingale file into the public domain version of Nightingale Lite. As a further aid to creating a realisation of the score, an interactive web application is provided which allows users to audition different combinations of instrumental lines from sections NO and P, to create a texture of up to 12 parts. To
launch this application, click here.

 

Metanoia is the central movement of triptych of pieces for variable ensemble ( Obedience, Turning, Stability) that takes its inspiration variously from The Rule of St Benedict and the I Ching.
 

Downloads

Study score in C [pdf]

Metanoia  MIDI files [zip]

Metanoia arrangement tool (sections N– Q) [zip]

Metanoia Digital Realisation 2006 [mp3]


Metanoia Orchestral Recording, Norwich Students’ Orchestra, 1988 [mp3]