Triad IV, Op. 12

scoring: flute (+alto flute, piccolo), two percussion and tape
duration: 13 1/2 minutes
composed: 1969


published: Novello

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 flutes with two percussion players, the idea of instrumental and formal relationships in triplicate, so to speak, is carried a stage further than in earlier pieces in the Triad series. Here use is made of recorded sounds of the players in conjunction with live performance, in a kind of trompe oreille effect, which adds a dimension to the spatial aspect of the music. It was written for Judith Pearce and pays tribute to her 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.

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 portions, but no tape survives and the modern performer would have to record one for themselves.


Programme note based on Connolly's script for the BBC broadcast listed above. No other programme note found so far.