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As its title suggests, this piece is about a constant wavering in purpose and intention, where ideas vie for a foothold in an ever shifting aural vista. Crudity wrestles with elegance, liquid horizontalism explodes out of and is then impeded by block verticalism, grand string-centred explorations are effaced and undermined by lightly scored, fragmentary material, seemingly stable colour palates are suddenly infiltrated by waves or blobs of contrasting timbres... I was very interested in exploring in some small way the huge array of sub-groupings of instruments within the orchestra, and I sought to elevate these chamber groupings to the same level of importance as the entire body of resources used simultaneously. The most obvious example of this is the frequent use of the string quartet (ie, the lead players of each string section, minus the basses) as both a timbral paring-back of the strings as a whole and a sovereign expressive force in its own right. In considering the orchestra in part as a large chamber group, many individual lines assume, in isolated areas, concerto-like duties and characteristics, where their solo outbursts are supported by burbling, decorational accompaniments. Only towards the end does a single rhythmic idea (a simple driving moto perpetuo) sustain a platform around which previously antagonistic colouristic and textural devices are able to mingle happily before a final decay of order and a brief, evaporating coda. Vacillations was premiered in Perth by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, conductor Kevin Field, as part of the Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum, 2002.
for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra for the Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum
18 Oct 2002: Premiere performance by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, cond. Kevin Field, at the Australian Composers Orchestral Forum at the ABC in Perth.
Performed by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kevin Field in 2002 as pat of the Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum