Roukens, Joey

General: Joey Roukens was born in Schiedam, the Netherlands, in 1982. 
Education: Roukens studied composition at the Rotterdam Conservatory and psychology at Leiden University. Roukens also studied piano privately with Ton ...

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Morphic Waves : for orchestra / Joey Roukens

Publisher's number: 14944
Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: Orchestra
Instruments: 3fl(picc) 3ob 3cl 3fg(cfg) 4h 3trp 3trb tb timp 3perc hp pf str
Duration: 23'00"
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Morphic Waves was commissioned and first performed by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Like most of my pieces, it is an eclectic work in which I tried to fuse highly diverse influences. The piece is mainly about morphing: morphing harmonies, morphing ideas and even morphing styles.
The piece starts off as a homage to American minimalism: during the opening section I use a technique borrowed from such composers as Michael Gordon and Steve Reich – the layering of regular pulses fading in and out. But this technique is only used as a starting point, generating a varied symphonic trajectory that takes the listener in very different, distinctly non-minimalist directions. Within a continuous 23-minute span various diverging sections organically morph into one another, not unlike Sibelius 7th Symphony (perhaps another inspiration on this work). Throughout the piece one can hear wave-like elements, not just in the dynamic swells, but also in the way orchestral textures expand and contract. The harmonies are, for the most part, triadic and rather dark-hued.
Already in the first few minutes the music breaks free from its minimalist tendencies: the textures soon become more active and more varied. One can hear hints of electronic dance music. Gradually the horizontal (melodic) element becomes more important, for instance when we suddenly hear a melancholy solo violin melody take over the pulsating textures, or later, when an Alberti bass motive emerges from a texture of oscillating thirds, which then gives rise to a wild unisono line played by the full orchestra. A dark section follows in which the music gradually gets more and more hectic, building up to a frenzied techno-inspired climax, after which the music subsides into a slow, highly serene coda (the sun finally breaks through…) bringing the piece to an ethereal close. In a way, this coda refers to the opening section again, with its slowly morphing harmonies, but now the repeated notes are replaced by long notes.
Joey Roukens

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