Silent Succession

for violin, cello, percussion and pre-recorded track (2017)

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Ecological succession is the process of change in the species structure of an ecological community over time. Through constant changes in environmental conditions, various species vie for predominance in the landscape. In particular, large scale events, such as earthquakes, eruptions, landslides, fires and floods, can significantly alter the course of succession in an ecosystem.

The Alaskan wilderness stand amongst some of the most unique and sublime environments in the world, with impressive mountains and glaciers situated amongst vast forests and river systems. Like many places in the contemporary world, this is not without major threats, key amongst them global climatic change, which in Alaska has wide ranging repercussions including rapid glacial and permafrost melt, increased fire risk, and consequent widespread alterations in the region's precious flora and fauna.

'Silent Succession' is at heart a sincere provocation, here implying the gradually silencing of the Alaskan wilderness through the significant impacts of climate change. As a native of South Australia, the driest state on the driest continent, I imagine with grave concern the possibility of desertification in Alaskan, and unlike my homeland, the inability of its flora and fauna to quickly adapt to changes in their environment. Starting with mountain winds, the soundscapes of glacier, river and forest follow in succession, attended by their inhabitants. With the destructive forces of fire and landslide, the landscape is left barren, with the wind intoning a subtle reminder of memories past.

'Silent Succession' was composed as part fo the professional development tour, American Ascent, made possible through the support of the South Australian Government through a Carclew Fellowship, a Helpmann Academy Grant, a Rural City of Murray Bridge Small Wins Grant and many generous private donations.

This premiere performance took place in the Denali National Park Visitor Centre, 24 June 2017, performed by members of Corvus - Andie Springer, Charly Akert and Joseph Bergen - as part of the 2017 Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.