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Brian Ferneyhough

Brian Ferneyhough

Subtitle: Wind Sextet

General Info

Year: 1967
Duration: c. 16:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Edition Peters
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental   |   Score Only (print) - £17.95


Full Score
Flute (doubling C Piccolo)
English Horn
B-flat Soprano Clarinet (doubling E-flat Soprano Clarinet)
Horn in F


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

As its title indirectly implies, this score is the product of my intense interest, around 1966/7, in exploring the implications inherent in the question of the predetermination versus spontaneity in musical composition. I wanted to devise strict systems of pre-ordering which did not relate directly to the generation of musical material but to the degree of choice with which I would be confronted at any given juncture. In order to function efficiently, the systems involved had to contain the necessity of their own self-destruction, since, in the very nature of things, whatever choice was made from the alternatives offered would be arbitrary in terms of the system itself. Whilst naturally standing alone as a fully valid, complete composition, this final, ‘correct’, version is to be understood as moving over a background of shadowy, alternative paths which -- at least for me -- represent a real, if silent, polyphonic strand in the total discourse.

The piece is divided up into three main parts, the third of which is, in part, a reworking of the first in the sense outlined above. The middle section, scherzo-like in texture, is separated from the other two by a lengthy cadenza on either side, for clarinet and piccolo, respectively. The work concludes with a third cadenza, this time for E-flat clarinet, pointing to a different quality of freedom from that manifested in the interstices of the fundamental compositional process itself (which is no longer directly accessible to the ear).

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Arradon Ensemble (London, England) (Brian Ferneyhough, conductor) – July 1967 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Ferneyhough, B. (1967). Prometheus: Wind Sextet [score]. Edition Peters: London.
  • Perusal score