Double Resonances details

Double Resonances

for piano and percussion (2008)

piano; percussion (kulintang, crotales, vibraphone, bass drum, Korean Temple gong, suspended cymbal, Peking Opera gong, 2 roto-toms [low, middle], ching [suspended], 3 bongos [low, middle, high], K’kwaenggwari)
duration: 17′ 00″; publisher: Wirripang

audiovisual sample

Donald Nicolson (pn) & Arnold Marinissen (perc), Wellington, New Zealand, 2008

score available from
Wirripang Pty Ltd

Claire Edwardes (perc) & Bernadette Balkus (pn)

program note

Double Resonances explores the idea of the resonances of two cultures (East and West) as a resource for establishing a personal sound resonant of my Pacific locale. Out of stillness half resonances from prepared and altered piano techniques merge with Korean temple gong and Samul Nori metal resonances. Bass sounds in shifting, Filipino-inspired ostinato rhythms propel the piece forward against sudden jazzy intrusions based on dissonant interval-colours. A Filipino scale borrowed from the percussive gone-chime beauty of a particular kulintang – that of world musician, Michael Atherton – underpins the percussion pitches in this stormy first section and later, during recurring still centres, it merges with the gentle sounds of the Chinese Shang-tiao mode as moments of sparky tranquillity. They jazz-inspired intrusions and developed repeated note drivers return to form a massive sonic climax which includes moments of controlled improvisation for the players; the climax subsides, ebbing back to the half echoes of prepared piano and transcendence of a temple gong sound.


Double Resonances, the title track, opens with an altered piano bass note—an intermittent gong-like motif signaling the blending and opposing of resonances as the composer contemplates sound-scapes East and West. The welling up of quasi-jazz interpolations against rippling of the eight-pitched kulintang provides a melodic filigree against the dissonant resonances of the piano. I was fortunate to hear the world premiere of Double Resonances and watch the performers Bernadette Balkus and Claire Edwardes revel in the expressive physicality conveyed by the score.”
Professor Michael Atherton, preface CD Double Resonances Wirr017


available on writings page (see Music of the Spirit)

Bernadette Balkus, Recording Studio, University of Western Sydney

performance history                                                                                 

August 2009, Double Resonances, Michael Kieran Harvey (piano), Peter Neville (percussion), Melbourne Composers’ League: Four Seasons—Winter, Iwaki Auditorium, Melbourne

May 2009, Double Resonances, Danny Holt (piano), LynnVarton (percussion), Los Angeles, CSUSB, The Confluence of Cultures: Music of the Pacific Rim

September 2008, Double Resonances, Donald Nicolson (piano), Arnold Marinissen (percussion), Victoria University of Wellington, CANZ/NZSM New Zealand Composers Conference

 19 April 2008 , Double Resonances, Bernadette Balkus (piano), Claire Edwardes (percussion), Music of the Spirit, Riverside Theatres Parramatta, Aurora Festival

Claire Edwardes, Recording Studio, University of Western Sydney


See album Living Colours: Pacific Sounds & Spirit, Navona 2017; Spotify 2017