for orchestra (2006)
2 (pic)22(bs.cl)2; 4331; timpani, percussion (2 players: Perc. 1: snare drum, 3 bongos, 2 congas, hi-hat cymbal, suspended cymbal, marimba, crotales; Perc. 2: snare drum, 3 bongos [high, medium, low], hi-hat cymbal, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, vibraphone) crotales; harp; strings
duration: 11′ 00″
publisher: Sounz, AMC
score available from
The ‘Pacific’ of the title refers to the music’s use of cultural resonances of the Pacific: percussion ensemble sounds of the Philippines and personal interval-colour sonorities evocative of the sea. These resonances ‘dance’ in that they are swept up into colour chorales (both fast and slow) and fiery syncopated Filipino kulintang percussion rhythms. The shape of the piece is explosive: opening kulintang fragments evolve into a cacophony of juxtapositions with orchestra girded by a barrage of percussion at the end. Untuned percussion at the close balances the tuned-percussive utterance at the opening. Interval-colour moments feature in the music either via dissonantly tinged whole-tone conglomerations, initially borrowed from kulintang scales, or with opening fifth resonances, or by aching tonally dissonant sounds. The static colours reflecting sea-blue or Filipino sonorities are thrust forward, amongst moments of repose, in syncopated Pacific rhythm as a way of expressing the composer’s locale.
“Bruce Crossman’s Pacific Dancing, on the other hand, would be more challenging to place. Despite its title, the Asian and Pacific influences on the composer’s thought processes were less evident on the surface than his edgy European modernism (Crossman is, after all, a ‘grand-pupil’of Hanns Eisler and a ‘great-grandpupil’ of Schoenberg).”
Alan Wells, Sounz News: The Journal for the Centre of New Zealand Music, Nov 2007