Cocooned in Breath

Music of Sally Greenaway
Commissioned by Sarahlouise Owens

Cocooned in Breath brings together two perhaps unrelated sound worlds to the performance concert hall: classical music specialists and a sound healing specialist. Scored for voice, piano and crystal singing bowl, the trio ensemble brings a new dynamic to both the art of performing in creating a piece of music together, and the art of experiencing a piece of music from both the performer and audience perspectives.

The piece is centred on the bowl Saint Germaine which is pitched to 4 4 and has an overtone of a 5. The instrument is played traditionally with a suede rod and rubber or felt mallet, but the performer is invited to explore the modern percussion technique of bowing the rim of the bowl. They are to free explore the sound world of the bowl that these playing options provide in order to ebb and flow with the dynamics and energy throughout the duration of the piece.

The music score allows for freedom of expression and some guided improvisation, allowing the piece to unfold organically in the timeline. No two performances of the work will therefore be the same, and the duration is also fluid depending on how the musicians choose to interact with the material and cues given.

The note range for the soprano (encapsulating the beauty and delicacy of the low-to-medium register) is very closely matched to the pitch and overtone of the bowl. And this, coupled with the repeated note Db on the piano, allows the three instruments to mingle, envelop and enhance one another. The hope is that the sound world experienced by both performers and audience causes the delineation between individual instruments to become blurred.

The composer wishes to thank soprano Sarahlouise Owens for commissioning this work with the support of an ArtsACT grant.

Category: Vocal, Choral, Art Song;
Instrumentation: Soprano Voice, Piano, Crystal Singing Bowls: Trio: Voice, Crystal singing bowl in C#/Db, Piano
Year: 2020
Work duration: 8min
Difficulty/level: Advanced
Commissioned by: Sarahlouise Owens

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