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Gwyn Pritchard: Janus
Flute/piccolo/alto flute and clarinet: A /E flat/bass  (1991)

Janus was a Roman god whose head had two faces looking in opposite directions; an image which serves to describe the nature and behaviour of much of the musical material of this piece. Its purely musical origins lay in my wish to explore linearity, and different forms of opposition and tension that can be generated between two linear instruments.  At times the two faces of the music are polarised, locked into diametrical opposition; and at others, each persues a musical course obsessively independent, even oblivious, of the other.  

Janus is a formidably difficult work, which deliberately demands of the performers an almost impossible degree of control of detail, particularly in its microtonal and its textural aspects. The consequent instability is analagous to a drawing in which the imagery is described by a profusion of linear movements. This is a direct consequence of writing the piece under a picture donated to me by the distinguished Polish painter Jerzy Stajuda, to whom the piece is dedicated. It is also dedicated to the brilliant Swiss duo: Philippe Racine and Ernesto Molinari, for whom it was composed in the Autumn of 1991, commissioned with funds from South West Arts.

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