Beginnings: A Climber’s Winter Rhapsody

A Climber’s Winter Symphony (2014) was composed as part of a Common Assessment Task in the composer’s Matric year. The work was composed in Johannesburg, and depicts the various feelings felt when climbing a mountain.

The work begins with a simple, minimalistic pattern in the piano. From this grows material used for the entry of both the cello and clarinet. The texture becomes further granulated until its arrival at the first melody, played by the clarinet. This is suggestive of distress and lost. The irregular shaped piano figure further creates a feeling of movement. This movement grows into the second section, which shifts away from the feeling of distress. Conversely, it focuses more on relaxation and serenity. This can be seen in the cello melodic episode. However, the movement in the first section is still portrayed in the piano accompaniment.

The music slows to a more contemplative state, with the clarinet’s melancholic phrase illustrating feelings of doubt and gloom. The first section is returned but is set in the lowered leading tone key. This, along with a highly granulated piano figure, eventually intensifies to a climactic ending. This climax suggests a victorious, triumphant character, conquering the previously sections of distress and melancholy.

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