Onna, Peter van

Peter van Onna was born in 1966 in Hengelo, The Netherlands. Education: Peter studied composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Louis Andriessen and Theo Loevendie. After this, he ...

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The gothic arch : for string orchestra / Peter van Onna, MMII, revised MMVIII

Publisher: Amsterdam: Muziek Centrum Nederland, 2008
Publisher's number: 10621
Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: String orchestra
Scoring: str(
Remarks: Min. 24 uitvoerenden. - Alle partijen (m.u.v. de solopartijen) kunnen worden verdubbeld. - Met financiële steun van het Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst. - Cop., Donemus, 2002
Duration: 14'00"
Year of composition: 2002
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Program note (English): The Gothic Arch constitutes the 9th part in an orchestral cycle in which each piece is designed to 'form a dialogue' with paintings. My interest in this was triggered by the fact that the Netherlands have foremost a rich tradition in painting. The orchestral cycle was composed between 1993 and 2005. The Gothic Arch constitutes a dialogue with the etching by the Italian architect and engraver Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778). It is one of a series with the title Carceri d'invenzione. They depict imaginary dungeons (prisons) and are characterized by a silent, desolate atmosphere and a keen perceived perspective and depth. As a result the viewer almost gets a feeling of dizziness when looking intensely to the etching for a longer period of time. The monochrome black and white in the etching resulted in a choice for strings only and for muting them to achieve a more diffuse tone colour. Foremost I tried to capture the silent atmosphere of the Piranesi etching and added musical elements which underlined the activity (or lack of it, since it is very static). To underpin the dizziness inherent in the etching I used a composition technique which I call 'Imbroglio'. This is an Italian word meaning confusion or deceit. Its goal is to create a certain ambiguousness of musical material. It is not new since it can be retraced back to even Mozart (Don Giovanni - Scene in the dancehall). Initially it was synonymous with polymeter but there are many ways in which one can achieve this effect, some of which I used in this piece. - PETER VAN ONNA

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