Triad IV, Op. 12

scoring: flute (+alto flute, piccolo), two percussion and tape
duration: 13 1/2 minutes
composed: 1968

dedication: for Judith Pearce

published: Novello/Wise Music

status: available for performance


Broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Wednesday 21 January 1970 22.05
Judith Pearce, flutes

No live performance known


BBC recording above

programme note:

In Triad IV, for flute, 2 percussion players and recorded sounds, was written for Judith Pearce and is one of a group of compositions for three performers. Others are Triad I (1964) for trumpet, viola and piano, Triad II (1965) for double bass, piano and percussion, Triad III (1966), for oboe, viola and cello. The pieces are related to one another not so much by musical gestureas as by similarities in formal articulariton. Each has three sections, and the word 'trid' must be understood in its philosophical rather than its purely musical sense. The work pays tribute to Judith Pearce's playing not only of the flute, but of the auxiliary instruments: alto flute and piccolo. Here again, the idea of a triad of relationships is further explored.

In the present work there is an extra dimension in the presence of a two track tape played through two loudspeakers; the triangular relationship is thus one between flute and percussion on the one hand, and the loudspeakers on the other. The instruments played by the percussionists are heard on the tape, as is the sound of flute, alto flute and piccolo; the resulting trompe oreille effect adds a dimension to the spatial aspect of the music. It is intended that the tape shall be made by the performers concerned in the live performance.

The piece itself is in three sections. Unlike its immediate predecessor in the series, Triad IV is essentially mono-thematic: similar music is used in various transformations and variations throughout the piece. For example, the opening material is used in the second section in a kind of fugato in which the live and recorded portions are heard in sharp juxtaposition. This fugato makes a second appearance at the end of the movement, in yet another disguise, becoming much faster and finally disappearing into thin air. The last section opens with a sudden eruption of sound in which the total forces are used simultaneously for the only time in the whole piece. And the substance of the music is taken up with a triple repetition in the manner of a chorale, of the flute material heard at the beginning of the work. First, all three flutes play it; then the flute and alto; and finally it is played by flute alone in such a way as to reveal its identity with the music of the opening, and so to emphasise the circular nature of the piece.

Justin Connolly


other comments:

The score contains the taped portions as well as the live portion. As the composer notes above "It is intended that the tape shall be made by the performers concerned in the live performance."   


Programme note based on one found in Connolly's collection, expanded by other material found.