Views from the Dark Edge

by Lauri Kilpiö

Empty sheet

Lauri Kilpiö

Views from the Dark Edge

Music Finland



When I heard, that the instrumental combination in my Royaumont piece would be a quartet for two trumpets, percussion and double bass, my first reactions were a mixture of excitement and horror. On the other hand I was inspired by the colouristic and gestural possibilities of this rather strange instrumental combination, and the potential jazz music allusions created by the ensemble felt also to be interesting. But on the other hand I was aware of the difficulties that the instrumentation would cause. How could I solve the huge balance problems between the relatively weak double bass and the relatively loud trumpets? How could I manage without a 'profound bass'? How could I create at least some feeling of harmony? And where could I find examples of the solutions to these problems? So far I have not found any music written for this ensemble, so I had to find the solutions to these and other questions myself.

'Views from the Dark Edge' is scherzo-like, but sensitive music. Many listeners may consider the sound, phrase structure and form of the piece as very classical.

Regarding the short duration, there is quite a lot of musical material in the work. Many of the musical materials, for e.g. the short individual staccato notes of the trumpets and the descending arco glissandos of the double bass are presented at the very beginning of the piece. Very often these materials are combined with each other to create longer and more polyphonic units or phrases. The other main materials in the piece are the ascending pizzicato gestures of the double bass and a 'second-theme-like' noble melody of the trumpet. Each material has its own intervallic structure, but the characters of the different ideas and musical situations are also created very much by the texture.

When the materials have been presented, they go through a development section, which includes among others things some play with the density of the staccato notes and more constant rapid figuration with the two trumpets.

I have usually given very neutral, structurally-oriented and non-poetical titles for my pieces, but now I have made an exception. The music (and the listener) goes 'along the dark edge' during the piece, but the views from the edge can be either dark or bright.

© Lauri Kilpiö 2004


2trp, perc, db [pictr]


Chamber Works


Members of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain: Lise Bouchard, trumpet, André Feydi, trumpet, Julien Grégoire, percussion, and Yannick Chênevert, double bass, cond. Lorraine Vaillancourt, Royaumont (France), October 2, 2004.

Commisioned by / dedications

Composed for the composition session of the Royaumont Foundation.

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