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A Search for a Language

for violin, cello and piano

Year:  2015   ·  Duration:  9m

Year:  2015
Duration:  9m

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Pages 1-8

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In 1969, Douglas Lilburn presented a speech on the nature of composition in New Zealand, and the role of the composer in our nation's artistic landscape. Lilburn embraces the notion that our musical landscape is made up of multiple languages and diverse influences. At the heart of the composer's words is the feeling that this search is not complete. While the nation's foremost composer, Lilburn expressed at times feeling as if he'd "taken a tumble through the Looking Glass" due to the "very real isolation" of the composer in New Zealand. The curious, explorative and somewhat mystical quality of Lilburn's musings informs the nature of this composition, a reflection on these searching words. From an ethereal and distant opening, the ‘search’ grows increasingly curious and conflicted, grudgingly searching for a homogenous texture, before discovering a new language. The piece ends with a plaintive, fading exploration and gentle arrival, reflecting Lilburn's unanswered questions amidst an inescapable search for language.


Commissioned note

A winning work in the NZ Trio's 2015 'Celebrating Lilburn' Competition.

Difficulty note

Suitable for professional piano trio, or advanced student piano trio.

Performance history

10 Oct 2015: Performed by NZTrio at the Adam Concert Room, New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.