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Annie Gosfield

The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon

string quartet (2010)
Duration18'
CommissionCaramoor International Music Festival (Caramoor Center for Music and Arts), on behalf of the Jasper String Quartet for the commissioning project "A String Quartet Library for the 21st Century"
PremiereAugust 5, 2010; Caramoor Center for Music and Arts, Katonah, NY; Jasper String Quartet
PublisherPSNY

Media

Program Note

The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon is inspired by the surreal radio broadcasts and codes used by European resistance groups in World War II. It incorporates musical materials drawn from the mysterious “Messages Personnels” broadcast to the French Resistance, a silken code scarf used by Danish Resistance members, and the transformative processes of encryption.

The figure in the beginning of the piece is based on the rhythm of "Le cheval bleu se promène sur l'horizon" (the blue horse walks on the horizon), which was one of the statements broadcast from the British to the French Resistance in their “messages personnels” radio program. These broadcasts, which transmitted secret messages to resistance forces all over France, consisted of surreal phrases that were read over some very odd music. As the show became very popular, hundreds of these messages were read out every evening, which succeeded in keeping German decoders very busy. I listened to a recording of this compelling, hypnotic broadcast, transcribed the message, and imagined the repeating rhythmic figure as a series of voices in the distance.

Another source of inspiration was a a piece of silk imprinted with codes that was used by the Danish Resistance in the field. I was struck by the beauty of this object that somehow survived the war, and the fleeting nature of the transmission of such critical information. When encrypting a message, resistance members would use one line of code, tear it off, and then burn it. I took a picture of the silken relic and read it like music, assigning individual letters to pitches. Like a message emerging from a random sea of characters, I heard melodic fragments materializing out of a bed of sustained, ethereal harmonics. In my research, I also found many pages of 5-character codes, which I transcribed and used as shifting, repeating figures that represent the ephemeral quality of these coded messages, and their transformation from abstract information, to a decoded message, to a specific action, such as a violent act of sabotage.

The piece is dedicated to Bernard Peiffer, who was a great pianist and was a member of the French Resistance in WWII. I had the pleasure of studying piano with Bernard during my most formative years, and he continues to be a source of great inspiration.

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Types of Products

Full score and Solo Part (Digital)

Chamber Ensemble Score (Print)

Piano Reduction and solo parts (Digital)

Choral Score Set - 16 copies (Print)
Includes 8 copies of the soprano/alto part and 8 copies of the tenor/bass part.

Score and part (Digital)

Score and part (Print)

Conductor Score (Print)

Full Score/Violin Part (Print)

Full Score/Violin Part (Digital)

Piano reduction and solo part (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Digital)

Video and instructions (Digital)

Study Score in Two Volumes (Print)

Score and Parts (Digital)
Score and part PDF files are delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Soprano/Alto Part (Print)

Full Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the full score is delivered via email upon receipt.

Full Score (Print)
A print edition of the score ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Tenor/Bass Part (Print)

Parts (Digital)
A PDF file of the part(s) is delivered via email upon receipt.

Parts (Print)
A print edition of the part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt.

Solo Instrument Score (Digital)
A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Digital)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Score and Parts (Print)
A print edition of the score and part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. The email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer.

Solo Instrument Score (Print)
A print edition of the score is shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Print)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. Print edition(s) of the full score/performance score are shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Multiple copies are included if the work has more than one player. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Choral Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the choral score is delivered via email upon receipt. The set is priced to allow multiple copies of the PDF to be printed for performance by the purchasing organization only.

Choral Score Set- 8 copies (Print)
Minimum order quantity is 8 copies. Single copies are not available.

Vocal Score (Digital)

Vocal Score (Print)

Choral Score (Print)

Full Score and Solo Part (Print)
A print edition of the score and solo part ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Study Score (Print)

Study Score (Digital)