Phillip Neil Martin

Shadowed Facets

for chamber ensemble
(fl, ob, cl, tpt, 2 perc, pf, 2 vn, va, vc)

duration: 11 minutes

Shadowed Facets consists of seven short movements based on certain aspects of Mario Donizetti's painting The Seven Deadly Sins. The painting has seven parts, each one representing one of the seven deadly sins, and I have used each of these as a backdrop on which to work.

The movements depict the action or colour of the canvas as often as using the ideas brought forth by Silvana Milesi's essay on these paintings called "Faith and Beauty, Truth and Reason, Reason and Passion". This allowed me a broader freedom of interpretation on the subject. The individual movements' relationships were designed upon Dante's groupings of the sins (excessive love, perverted love and insufficient love) associated with the philosophy of the Yin-Yang symbol. The concept that within blackness there is always an element of white (also vice versa), and thus using this notion as a basis to insert fragments of associated movements inside each other. This sees it pinnacle in the final movements depicting Pride - the root of all the other sins of man, according to Bernardo di Chiaravalle - which is said to be the only truly deadly sin of the seven. This movement incorporates all the other movements' fragments heading backward through the work, with the lone trumpet painting the picture of the cold solitary figure of Pride, from which everything else arises.

As a Composition Scholar at the Royal College of Music, Phillip Neil Martin graduated with a First Class Bachelors of Music Honours degree in July 2002.

Recent commissions include an orchestral fanfare for the London Philharmonic Orchestra to open their concert series at the Royal Festival Hall. 'De Profundis', a double choral work was commissioned by Paul Spicer to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Benjamin Britten's death, premiered by the Finzi Singers at the Barbican. Recent premieres include "Shattered Spectrums" for Solo Violin performed in the String Finals of the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition 2002 by the Violinist Emma Hancock. 'Landscape' for Fifteen Players was premiered at the distinguished Aldeburgh Festival of contemporary music in the summer of 2002.

Phillip attended the prestigious Britten-Pears Summer School in 2001 with a scholarship form the PRS Foundation to study with Oliver Knussen, Colin Matthews and Magnus Lindberg. This year Phillip received a scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust to return to the summer school to study on the New Music/New Media course working in cross-media arts such diverse artists as Joanna MacGregor, Keith Tippett, Donnecha Dennehy, Hans Kristian Sorensen, Kathy Hinde & Alasdair Nicolson. Joanna consequently premiered 'Into This Wild Abyss' for Live Piano and Video with Sound.

The summer of 2002 also saw Phillip as only one of a only a few to be shortlisted by the spnm (Society Promoting New Music) for his work 'Shadowed Facets' for Eleven Players.

A highlight of past work includes music commissioned for HRH Princes Charles' 50th birthday celebrations as well as performances in the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Phillip has won all of the major composition prizes/competitions at the Royal College of Music including the Cobbett & Hurlstone Prize (first won by Benjamin Britten), the John Longmire Prize and the Sullivan & Farrer Prize. Phillip has returned to the Royal College of Music on a scholarship supported by the Constant & Kit Lambert Award to study on the Master of Music programme under the continued tuition of Julian Anderson with support from the AHRB, Countess of Munster Trust and the Ralph Vaughn Williams Trust. Phillip's dissertation is on Ligeti's Third Book of Piano Etudes as yet still unpublished and still in manuscript form. Phillip will analyse the aging Ligeti's latest works for piano with particular emphasis on the illusory, rhythmic hybrids heard but not played, analogous to Escher's "impossible" perspectives.

Phillip is also involved in educational projects having worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra's outreach programme and will be working with the spnm's 'Sound Inventors' scheme in the new year bringing opportunities to children across the UK to explore music and composition.

Up and coming events include the premiere of Phillip's recently completed first large orchestral piece 'Nights Bright Days' at the Royal College of Music in January 2003. Phillip has recently been selected by the British Council as the only young composer to travel with the ensemble Psappha for a new project in Venezuela. The trip will take place in February and will be a collaboration with musicians and video artists culminating in a new work to be performed in a series of large multimedia concerts in the capital Caracas. On his return Phillip will be working on an ensemble piece for the 'Music of Today' series and the Philharmonia Orchestra with concerts later in the year at the Royal Festival Hall and the National Gallery.

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