Shadows with Melodies

Composed in



1Picc, 2/2, 1EH/1Eb, 2Bb/1SS, 1ST/2 – 4/1PiccBb, 3C/3/1 – Timp./4 Perc – H – Cel – Strings


First performance
October 29, 2008 at the Cultural Center in Hasselt (B) by the Limburg Youth & Music Orchestra (B) conducted by Rik GHESQUIERE.

Commissioned by
Youth & Music Flanders (B)

Dedicated to
Dirk Opstaele



Luc on ‘Shadows with Melodies’ :

This works was composed on commission of “Jeugd & Muziek Vlaanderen” (“Jeunesses Musicales” Flanders) to become part of a “staged” project along with the “Farewell Symphony” by Haydn and the “Boléro” by Ravel.
The main idea is that the Haydn Symphony starts while the last passage of “Shadows with Melodies” is performed, and during the end of the Symphony the percussion players start to play the opening bars of Ravel. As the project is staged, I was requested to conceive my work in such a way that the large orchestra (“Boléro”-size) is reduced as the works progresses, in order to end on stage with the musicians who play in the Haydn Symphony only, with the exception of instruments which cannot be moved: the harp, the celeste and the percussion.
The work begins with an enormous tutti, and after the introduction lots of melodic fragments are heard in different instrumental combinations. At some points, musicians leave the stage and -hence the “Shadows” in the title- play from backstage, in order to create soms sort of “game” between distant and close music. The work is generally quite slow, but near the end there is a relatively fast passage based on one chord, where the opposition between the stage and the backstage is the most clear.
Because the work was composed for a youth orchestra, I refrained from using quarter-tones, as I usually do, but nevertheless tried to write in my own “spectral” style. In a later stage I will rewrite the ending slightly, in order to have the piece stand on its own.
The first performance was given on October 29, 2008 in the Cultural Center of Hasselt (B) by the “Limburg Jeugd & Muziek Orchestra” conducted by Rik Ghesquière. The score is dedicated to Dirk Opstaele, who stages this project and with whom I composed my first (chamber) opera “Antigone”.

Luc Brewaeys