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work is for eight percussionists and piano. Composed in 2015, it is a radical
reworking of an earlier piece of the same name, written in 1980 for the six
players of the Warsaw Percussion Ensemble. In the process of redistributing the
material among nine players it was frequently changed, and in some cases new
material composed. The piece is so named as its structure, like the surface of
the Earth, is made up of superimposed layers. Four musical strata are clearly
audible from their first appearance, as each is characterised by a specific,
distinct instrumentation which remains mostly unchanged throughout the piece. In order of appearance they are as
means of an elaborate structure, these four ideas are continually emerging and
then disappearing again, giving rise to ever-changing combinations of materials.
About halfway through the piece all four layers stop abruptly together – like
a great geological fault. At this moment a new, fifth idea is revealed, scored
for tuned cowbells, and other tuned metal instruments. The overall effect of the
piece is not unlike that of a landscape in which sections of rock strata have
been eroded away leaving lower layers exposed.
original version, for six players, was first performed
in New York in 1982, the rewritten version for nine players in Hagenthal-le-Bas,
France in 2015.