C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

D0 note (18.35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

F0 note (21.83 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

G0 note (24.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

A0 note (27.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

Brennan, Patrick: Ballabile 



Basic information

  • Title: 
  • Duration (in minutes): 
  • Year of composition: 
  • First performance (year): 
  • First performance (venue): 
    LSO St. Luke's, London
  • First performance (performers): 
    London Symphony Orchestra
  • Solo Voice(s)/Instrument(s): no


  • Program notes: 

    A short piece might also be a study in one aspect of how music works:
    for example, in how to prioritise a different kind of movement from
    that which has traditionally driven Western music, with its thematic
    arguments and ‘development’. Inscribed in memory of Alan Watts
    (1915–73), a pioneer in introducing Eastern philosophical ideas to a
    Western audience, Patrick Brennan’s Ballabile moves between slow,
    static music and various kinds of more animated material. A resonant
    chord (based on the overtones of a low C) opens the work, and grows
    into rapid activity in the first violins which then spreads through the woodwind; stillness, in this piece, is always something that must be
    striven for, as one might seek to do in entering a meditative state.
    Such a stillness first arrives in a passage featuring low woodwind in
    duet, followed by a solo string quartet; when the same mood returns,
    after the work’s fast central tutti, it will be to lead the piece to its
    conclusion. Also associated with these slower, stiller episodes is the
    Japanese prayer-bowl or rin, which is heard in each of them. Its final
    appearance is in the piece’s last three bars, which also conclude the
    work’s harmonic narrative with a shift from a chord based on a low E
    to one on a low F-sharp.
    The fast and loud music at the centre might appear to be the strongest
    evocation of the work’s title, which in ballet refers to a dance performed
    by the corps de ballet. But perhaps the word’s literal meaning –
    ‘danceable’ – is in play, too; and perhaps if we listen hard, as if we
    had been meditating ourselves, we might hear a slow, elegant dance
    unfolding in even the work’s stillest moments.