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Audio Library

O Venezia

For Womens' Voices and Harp

O Venezia is a (progressively-accumulating) multi-voice song cycle, composed for the ensembles Scottish Voices in Glasgow, Pandora's Vox in Boston and Halcyon in Sydney. The title comes from the celebrated account in Wagner's diary of a sleepless night on a Venetian balcony, in which the composer of The Ring was deeply affected by the sounds of the lagoon and the song ("O Venezia") of the gondolieri. The anthology of texts consists of material by Venetians or (more frequently) visitors to Venice, material about Venice or excerpted from musical works composed for performance in Venice, or material connected with Venice in some other way. The texts are in Latin, French, German and English as well as Italian: texts whose dates range from the medieval ("Ave maris stella") to the late twentieth century (Luigi Nono). In certain respects, the compositional style exemplifies new tonality (but referential, not functional, tonality) and even a few minimalistic aspects (albeit essentially only in the harmonic domain). However, most of the formal processes, in the large and the small, are constructivist to the core, but attempt, nevertheless, to caste such modernist techniques in new expressive contexts.