Winter Ground for solo vibraphone, opus 58 (1998)
Winter Ground is a ten-minute work for solo vibraphone. Belgium based Portuguese percussionist Miguel Bernat commissioned it with assistance from the Music Fund of the Australia Council for the Arts. He gave the first performance of the work in Rotterdam in Holland on a suitably icy night in January 2000.
The piece was the first I wrote after moving from Australia to London in 1997 and was completed in January 1998. It is, as the name suggests, based around a repeated harmonic passage or ground. The piece works out as a series of variations but I was attracted to the idea of variation-form serving as guiding principle in a more dramatically structured and dynamic form. Something I had employed in a work written shortly before Winter Ground, the Twelve Variations for piano duet. Winter Ground is quite contrapuntal and demands high levels of fluency and freedom of independent stick technique of the performer. The crystalline and cool sounds of the vibraphone have rich harmonics that create auras of sound.
© Andrew Schultz, 1998