With a Bang: “Igniting Kites & Flying Fireworks”

Igniting Kites & Flying Fireworks for Large Orchestra.


Igniting Kites & Flying Fireworks was originally written for the KZN Philharmonic composition competition (2015).

The work is written in a pseudo overture style. It aims to evoke a sense of speed and vigour – often found when flying kites or watching fireworks. This is done by manipulating one of the main traditional features of orchestral overtures: the use of dotted rhythms. These dotted rhythms are inverted in order to better evoke the aforementioned feeling of urgency. These figures occur throughout the first theme, which is suggestive of emotions involving pride and joy. This is taken over by the countertheme, which poses a lighter, comical stance. The opening first section is then brought to a close with both themes supported by strongly tonal harmony, which further enhances the work’s sense of joyful celebration.

The piece continues straight into a transitional section, continuing to make use of the dotted rhythm feel (except now portrayed using triplets/compound time). This leads into the second section, which introduces a lyrical aspect to the piece. Different melodic episodes are presented by various members of the orchestra; each evoking a different sense of ‘happiness’. These episodes include suggestive feelings of exhilaration leading up to contentment.

The satisfaction posed by the final melodic episode is immediately juxtaposed by angst and impatient material. This is suggested using pointillistic rhythms in conjunction with chromaticism. This is derived from the second theme, which ultimately amalgamates into a large climax. This point marks the return of the first section, revealing that the piece is in altered ternary form,

Igniting Kites & Flying Fireworks concludes with a coda, which recalls thematic incipits that have previously occurred throughout the piece. These are then combined in order to create a powerful climactic resolution. It signifies both the explosion of fireworks and the overall completion of the work.

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