A Line Has Two (2008)

A Line Has Two is a large-scale sonic-literary work by Australian composer Damien Ricketson and renowned poet Christopher Wallace-Crabbe. As well as the sounds of the voice, clarinet, marimba and vibraphone, the work includes an unusual palette of instruments including bowed-crystal glasses an Argentine bamboo saxophone, Balinese gongs and electronics.

Ricketson writes, “A Line Has Two was written in collaboration with the Australian poet Christopher Wallace-Crabbe. The work explores themes of impermanence and the passing of time. The audience receives the text in written, spoken and sung forms in such a way that each form presents a subtle variation of the same idea. The themes of valediction and renewal that pervade the text are represented by two musical quotes from the Romantic composers Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler.

“The ‘farewell’ of Mahler’s The Song of the Earth is used to represent the desire to hold onto life in the face of death, while the ‘chorus of the unborn children’ from Strauss’ opera The Woman Without a Shadow is used to represent emerging life: time yet to be experienced. The two quotes form musical materials that are used throughout the work, sometimes manipulated, sometimes explicit. In further reference to the Strauss, which included the last known use of the glass harmonica, A Line Has Two, features 12 bowed glasses arranged in a geometric star around which the performers circle playing interlocking patterns. The bowed glasses are just one of numerous exotic instruments used throughout the work, another being the aulos, an ancient Greek reed instrument.”


Ensemble Offspring


“…sounds seemed to hover in the air before they landed exquisitely in one’s ear. This work is like a wooden box of very small compartments full of delicious treats for the ears and eyes.” – Keith Gallasch, Realtime