Scratching the Ice for orchestra

2010, 8 minutes

01 Scratching the Ice by nissim schaul

In a few older RER stations in Paris, the train driver checks the platform to be sure no one is stuck in the doors by looking into a long mirror at the head of the train that reflects the platform back to him. If you ever have the good fortune to find a seat that gives you a view of one of these mirrors as the train pulls out of the station, and you look up into it at just the right time, you’ll see the frozen landscape left behind you. Where there were just hundreds of people, now no one. While all around you is motion, in the mirror, there is ice. This moment of peace is the subject of a piece entitled Glace – which in French can mean either “mirror” or “ice” – I am writing for the Triangle Youth Philharmonic. Scratching the Ice is something of a dry run, an opportunity to try out some material in a fashion not fit for teenagers, either because of difficulty or content. As it is a collection of first drafts formed into a larger work, I decided to skew the work – the misshapen proportions and formal indecisiveness are intentional.

Scratching the Ice was written for the 2010 Acanthes Festival and Composition Workshop in Metz, France and was read there by the Orchestre National de Lorraine, Jacques Mercier conducting.


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