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Seattle Symphony premiere

26 October 2012

Arlene Sierra
Arlene Sierra

This weekend sees the world premiere by the Seattle Symphony of a new piece commissioned from Dr Arlene Sierra, lecturer in Composition at the School of Music.

Moler, a new symphonic composition inspired by grunge band Alice in Chains will premiere at Seattle's Benaroya Hall on Friday night.

Cardiff audiences will be able to hear Moler when it receives its UK premiere next month (23 November) at the Wales Millennium Centre during Welsh Panorama, a special celebration of composers born or working in Wales.

Moler was commissioned as part of Sonic Evolution, a Seattle Symphony project celebrating the past and future of the city's music scene and commissioned compositions have been inspired by Alice in Chains, Blue Scholars and Yes.

Taking its title from the Spanish word meaning "to grind", Arlene's work is a response to the legacy of Alice in Chains and inspired by their song Grind. The grinding described is not the sexual or dance-inspired variety, rather it is actually bruxism –teeth grinding caused by anxiety.

Arlene said: "For me this type of grinding had musical connotations of roughness, nervousness and energy. When reading about bruxism, I came across research showing that a sleeper's heart rate increases as one grinds one's teeth at night, and fluctuations can be attributed to phases of dreaming.

"These correlations inspired various rhythmic aspects of the piece. In keeping with bruxism and sleep patterns, the piece has shifts in energy from more frenetic to more relaxed and back again while an essential pulse remains underneath."

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