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Audio extract (2 mins) from live recording, 26-01-06 - Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester (pf - Piano Circus)

Score from: Direct Request


(WP) 19-11-00 Planet Tree Music Festival, The Round Chapel, Hackney, London (pf - Piano Circus)

07-02-02 Hungarian Contemporary Music Festival, Trafo, Budapest (pf - Piano Circus)

05-10-02 Auditorium, Haydn, Bolzano, Italy (pf - Piano Circus)

23-11-02 Lucerne Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland (pf - Piano Circus)

14-12-03 Arcola Theater, Dalston, London (pf - Piano Circus)

16-12-04 Cutting Edge Series, The Warehouse, Waterloo, London (pf - Piano Circus)

17-02-05 Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush, London (pf - Piano Circus)

25-06-05 Corsham Festival, Town Hall, Corsham (pf - Piano Circus)

26-01-06 Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester (pf - Piano Circus)

07-02-06 Marte Festival, Teatro Cervantes, Malaga, Spain (pf - Piano Circus)

17-01-07 Feet East, Brick Lane, London (pf - Piano Circus)

02-05-07 Hampstead High School for Girls, London (pf - Piano Circus)

Programme notes

Scores: 21st Century Junkie

For six pianos and tape [2000]  Duration: c. 7 ½ mins.



Commissioned for Piano Circus as part of the Planet Tree Music, 21st Century Junkie is an observation of the high-speed 'junk' lifestyle of today - junk food, junk TV, junk email, or just plain 'junkies'. The work is richly scored for six keyboards and tape.

We begin with a sample of a match being stuck, spun backwards and forwards in a similar manner to the fashionable 80’s pop technique of ‘scratching’. The match is finally struck and we dial into the World Wide Web along with mobile phones, slow inhalation and exhalation of a smoker, sampled words such as ‘caffeine’ and ‘trance’ – all layered in a collage of addiction, reality and everyday life.

Superimposed onto this, the six keyboards begin with a set of chords which retreat into the distance as each one is played and held. This material breaks out into a trance-like passage comprising three types of material - pairs of hocketing semiquavers; a canon of single repeated notes alternating between duplets and triplets; and repeated chords that fade in and out, mimicking a delay unit. Each idea is spun around the ensemble interspersed with melodic phrases that build to a mid-point climax. After a brief and darker section where the supporting tape refers increasingly more to the darker side of ‘junk’, the trance-like passage returns, this time more developed, before it reaches an abrupt end, leaving us with a reminder of our world today.

© Patrick Nunn 2000