Jeux à la fin du monde (2015)
Symphony Orchestra. 18:30.
Jeux a la fin du monde (Games at the end of the world) takes as it’s starting point two of my favorite pieces from the orchestral repertoire – Debussy’s last orchestral work, Jeux, and Lutoslawski’s pioneering 1961 composition, Jeux Venitiens. Part 1 of my “homage” takes inspiration from Debussy, while Part 2 is more closely influenced by Lutoslawski. Rather than quoting these compositions directly, I’ve tried to absorb their sound worlds, ideas of orchestration, musical texture, and their approach to form, which is characterized by sudden and fleeting changes of character.
Jeux a la fin du monde progresses quickly through many contrasting moods and colours, for which I’ve used many unconventional expressive descriptions. For example, passages which are Bubbling with energy, Somewhat Heroic, Ambivalent, and Gutted in Part 1 give way to themes which are alternately Harrowing, Tough & Punchy, Grotesque and Hypnotic in Part 2.
The title, Jeux a la fin du monde, has three different associations for me. The first relates to Australia, and it’s geographic position at the antipodes, or the ends of the earth – so I am playing musical games in the antipodes. A second association I had when composing is a kind of apocalyptic sense of the end of civilization through overconsumption, destruction of habitat, and climate change – from time to time the music delves into this dark place, usually to be stretched back out into the light again. And thirdly (to balance the negativity of the second), I envisioned the “games” of animals in the Antarctic, penguins, seals and whales frolicking at the most remote place on earth.
Jeux a la fin du monde was created with generous support from the Australia Council for the Arts. I am also incredibly grateful to Steve Schick and the La Jolla Symphony for their ongoing support and passion for contemporary music. They gave the premiere on 6 Feb 2016, Mandeville Auditorium, San Diego.
“What [Griswold] succeeds in doing is changing mood, tempos and feelings really rapidly as though you’re in kind of a stylistic kaleidoscope, without losing the organic flow of the music." - Steven Schick