Vic Hoyland

15: Qibti

Page of Qibti score

First page of Qibti

BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis, Barbican London, 18th December 2003

After the first recovery, I set about a project of intentionally related orchestral works, a trilogy lasting 1 hour 30 minutes. These works are Vixen, Qibti, and Phoenix.

Vixen set about revisiting the material in Fox. Qibti moves the investigation forward and is relevant for today’s session. I was given a Rockefeller Award to take a residency at Bellagio to complete Vixen. While there I saw an exhibition, in Como, of ancient Egyptian fabrics. The patterns are so miniscule that it is believed the Egyptians used a magnifying glass to produce them. Given that ancient Egypt produced monumental architecture, this care for detail at the smallest level appealed to me. How might I try that in music?

If we listen to the first 3 minutes of Qibti, to show this really is music, however complex; we can then attend to the page on Modulor.

Andrew Davis conducted the first performance. I am very happy with his sensitive realization. He seemed to intuitively understand the work - and convinced the sometimes awkward brigade that is the BBC Symphony Orchestra. I took it as a compliment when he told the orchestra that I had the ears of a bat! Some of the high string harmonics could not be realized by the violinists. I know the E flat above top C can be strong and players in Erik Ona’s band assured me they were. The ones we can hear were written using the Modulor spans. I wouldn’t have dared explore this potential without them. The 1st performance took place at the Barbican, London.