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John Harbison: Confinement (1965)

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Uploaded on May 22, 2011

John Harbison (*1938): Confinement, for flute, oboe & English horn, clarinet &
bass clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, double
bass, piano, percussion (1965).

The Contemporary Chamber Ensemble diretto da Arthur Weisberg.

Confinement, written in 1956, is laid out in four rather clearly demarcated sections which are, however, connected without pause. The title (along with movement subtitles) was originally associated with lines on the subject of illness, drawn from John Donne's Devotions; the composer,
however, no longer wishes these specific references to be given. Nevertheless, the conception of "confinement" pertains not only to musical restrictions but also to states of mind. The basic idea is that of strict or rigid shapes contrasted or in conflict with freer or looser ones. Thus disparate elements are brought together in very close, tight forms which are also intended to serve as analogies or metaphors.
ERIC SALZMAN.

***

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