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Antarctica Nigel Westlake

Movement 3 Penguin Ballet

Background Information on the piece of music:

The score of Antarctica was originally composed for the 1991 IMAX movie Antarctica, directed by John Weiley. Since then it is estimated to have been viewed by over 4 million people annually in the US, Europe and Asia. 20,000 km of the Antarctic were covered during the shooting of the film, over three year period. In 1992, as part of the ABCs 60th birthday celebrations, Westlake was commissioned to write a guitar concerto for John Williams and the TSO (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra). To complete the commission, Westlake returned to the first sketches he made for the film Antarctica, which had been originally intended for solo guitar and orchestra. (Weiley did not consider the guitar powerful enough to evoke the imagery so Westlake used cello instead in the film score). In the suite for guitar and orchestra, Westlake reworked some of the original score for guitar as well as incorporating new material. The themes of the film focus on the desolation and grandeur of the pole, the life it sustains, and the impact that we humans are having on this planet. These are reflected very strongly in Westlakes music. Weiley describes Antarctica as a noisy place - he talks about the sound of generators and motors, but when the noise stops, he says... there is a kind of epiphany. You are here. Thats when the music starts. Background Information on the composer - Nigel Westlake Westlake was born in Perth in 1958. He studied clarinet with his father who was clarinettist with the SSO. He attended the NSW Conservatorium High School, leaving school at age 16 to work as a freelance musician with prominent orchestras and ensembles, both in Australia and overseas. In particular The Magic Puddin Band (which he formed in 1980 bringing together musicians from jazz, rock and classical backgrounds), Synergy Percussion, the Australia Ensemble, Flederman, the SSO (Sydney Symphony Orchestra) and John Williams ensemble Attacca. Westlake studied film music at the Australian Film and Television School (1982) and in Holland in 1983 he studied the bass clarinet with Harry Sparnaay and composition with Theo Loevendie. In 1987 he was composer-in-residence for ABC radio, composing many signature tunes (especially for Radio National). In 1993 he studied composition with Richard Meale and composition and conducting with Richard Mills. Apart from this, he is largely self taught as a composer. His works have been performed throughout the world and he has won numerous awards including 1st Prize of the Jazz Action Society Composition Competition (1985) the Gold Medal for Best Original Music at the New York Radio Festival (1988), an APRA Music Award for Contemporary Classical Composition for the Year (1992), the Australian Guild of Screen Composers Award (A.G.S.C.) for Best Music for a Documentary for Celluloid Heroes (1995), an APRA Music Award for best film score for Babe (1996) an A.G.S.C. Film Award for Best Original music for the film A Little Bit of Soul (1998). Antarctica was nominated for an ARIA award for Best Film Soundtrack in 1993. Westlakes compositions cover a wide range of genre including orchestra and various ensembles, theatre and film, television and radio. His extensive list of commissions includes works for the ABC, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Synergy, the Australia Ensemble, Tall Poppies Records, SBS television, Film Australia, the Royal Australian Navy Band, Guitar Trek, the Bell-Shakespeare Co., the Seymour Group, Elektra String Quartet, the Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Musica Viva, Wild World Films (Canada) and guitarist John Williams. Film music include scores for Babe (1995 this brought him international fame), Celluloid Heroes, The Edge, Roads to 1|Page

Xanadu, Children of the Revolution, Imagine, Antarctica (IMAX) and Breaking Through (3D IMAX). His recordings have been released on Tall Poppies, ABC Records, ABC Classics, Vox Australis, Entracte and Great Island labels. Style and influences on the Compositions of Nigel Westlake Some insight into the man and his music can be gained through the many reviews and interviews in the press. In an interview for APRA magazine (August 1990) Belinda Webster describes Westlake as an unassuming and gentle man who is profoundly dedicated to his art. She describes his music as ... a very distinctive compositional style characterised by exuberant rhythms, chuckling melodies, unorthodox harmonies and a huge sense of fun. It is relatively uncomplicated music, once described by Peter Sculthorpe as the essence of Pacific minimalism. His music expresses a sense of wonder at the world without melancholy or introverted self-analysis. This makes audiences feel good and is a reflection of Nigels own personality both on and offstage. His music has been variously described as: at the cutting edge of post-minimalism This is music that exposes the nonsense of pigeon-holing into categories... it is simply good and, above all, intelligent music program music of a high order; so much force, so much descriptive delicacy brilliantly conceived and delivered the effect was mesmerising
(Source: Westlakes biographical file, AMC library the authors of these quotes are not given).

Of Antarctica in particular, The Hollywood Reporter said: Westlakes starkly tempestuous musical score swells and ebbs with the harsh grandeur of its subject matter big effects movie producers take note.


Analysis and Listening Guide Movement III Penguin Ballet:

Description of Film: This music accompanies a scene in the film where a diver descends through the ice to observe the penguins at play below the ice cap an Underwater ballet. Leopard seals are always a threat, and the only escape for the penguins is to exit speedily through a hole in the ice. Instrumentation:

2 Flutes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons, Cor Anglais, 2 Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, Bass Trombone, Harp, Nylon String Guitar, Percussion (Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Marimba, Glockenspiel, Timpani,Cymbal), 2 Violins, Viola, Cello (Violincello), Double Bass There is a Trombone and Trumpet in the entire Symphony but for this Movement they are Tacet, which means that they do not play. 3|Page

Theoretical Analysis of the Movement

Tempo slight movement between Andante & Moderato Form Bars Time Melody 0:00 Harp Cascade at the beginning INTRO 1 to 7
To 0:15 Harp scalic run to close the section 1st Theme 0:16 To 0:31 Bridge 0:32 To 0:36 Introduction to 1st Theme. Pas de Duex between the Guitar and the Harp Short woodwind motifs interject the Pas de Duex. Woodwind motifs appear at bars 14 & 15 at the end of the Theme. Bridge Passage from A1 to B1 on last 2 bars of section culminating with a scalic harp run. The beginning of the bridge or transition section is evident by the single bass notes on the guitar with sustained notes in the strings. Introduction of 2nd Theme in Violin 1 part. Played ritornello Introduction of 3rd Theme in the Viola comprising of Chromatic passing harmonies Ascending fast guitar scalic run works as a transition into a repeat of the A section, replacing the scalic harp run which has noted section changes previously.

Key: D Major Focus chord is a D7 with the 3rd Omitted Dominant Pedal note in the Cello & Viola E min13 chord forms the basis of the harmony for this section. Pizzicato Bass underpins melody. A9 chord at Bar 17 works as a transition chord in the Bridge.


8 to 17


18 to 28

2nd Theme 0:37 To 0:46 3rd Theme 0:37 To 0:59 1st Theme 0:58 To 1:15 Bridge 1:15 To 1:20 2nd Theme 1:20 To 1:30 3rd Theme 1:30 To 1:43

Guitar plays accompanying role to the new theme in the violins. Finger picked chords played underneath Theme 2. Chord Progression D Amin7 D Amin7 B F#min7 B F#min7 G A9 Plagal Cadence (IV I) used to end the accompaniment of 2nd Theme. Theme 3 based around a Emin11 chord.


29 to 38

Same as A1 The only main difference between A1 and A2 are more elaborated woodwind interjecting melodies.

Same as A1


39 to 49

Same as B1 Woodwind counter melodies are filled out substantially from B1 playing contrasting long sustained noted under the violins rapidly moving melody. Flutes seem to mimic the alternating Major second motive at the end of the first theme. Theme 2 sees instruments doubling the melody to thicken the texture and change the tone colour. Violin 1 & Clarinet play the same melody but separated by an octave. Double Bass & Bassoon play the same melody Introduced to 4th Theme. Another Pas de Duex between Guitar and Harp

Same as B1 Cello pizzicato (plucked NOT bowed) added underneath the melody. Cello pizzicato seems to be mimicking the movement of the guitars lower notes.

50 to 57

1:42 To 1:54

Key change to Bb Major. Section seems to be based around aCmin13 Chord. Violins and Cellos are playing a Dominant and Tonic harmonic pedal notes underneath the Pas de Duex Harp plays a repeated quaver pulse or ostinato underneath guitar melody.

58 to 62 Seem to be in a 6/8 feel

1:54 To 2:09

Short woodwind motives which first appeared as countermelodies at the end of the 1st Theme (bar 14) now appear in a thicker texture (Textural Development). Instrument doubling of these melodies thickens or

Key change to D Major. Section seems to be based around a A13 chord. Harp continues to play a repeated quaver


with 2 strong pulses of 1.5 beats or dotted crotchets

changes the Tone Colour. Flute, Piccolo, Oboe 1, Violin 1 & Guitar all play melody in unison. Clarinet 2 plays melody an Octave above.

pulse OR ostinato underneath Introduction of Percussion to take key role of rhythmic component of the piece. Percussion play a 1 2+3+ rhythmic pattern (Quaver followed by 4 Semiquaver) ostinato Woodwinds and lower strings play repeated ostinato reflecting percussion rhythmic motif. DMaj, EMaj, D#min7 chord progression seems to be the basis for this section. Guitar plays a country boom-chick kind of chordal accompaniment pattern while the motif is being passed around. Syncopated rhythm in flutes, clarinets and oboes underneath Marimbas descending motif. Guitar seems to fingerpick chords outlining the pulse underneath Marimba motif but joins the flutes and woodwinds in playing their countermelody at the end of the section. Flute & Piccolo double the harps counter melody to thicken the texture. Harp part outlines the chordal background of the section.

63 to 65

2:09 To 2:30

Melodic motif passed from guitar to bassoon to guitar to oboe to flute/piccolo to guitar to bass clarinet to marimba to flute/piccolo Horns & Marimba play a descending melodic motif. Section is completed by an ascending Harp scalic run.


72 to 79

2:31 To 2:47

Same as A1 Guitar melody is played an octave higher than A1. Guitar embellishes the melody with trills (hammer ons & pull offs), chromatic passing notes, fast rhythmic phrasing, Embellishments in guitar line appear from bar 77. Same as B2 Violin melody doubled by clarinet though separated by an octave. This thickens the texture of the melody. Ostinati in Guitar and Harp


80 to 84

85 to 88

2:47 To 2:58 2:58 To 3:14

Sustained notes in the viola added.

Chordal basis for section is Emin11 with the 3rd omitted Sustained notes with a crotchet pulse played as accompaniment by Oboes, Bassoons and Upper Strings.

Music Terminology Glossary for above analysis:

Ritornello: A short section at the end of a work usually restating something that happened before ALSO a reoccurring instrumental section that occurs between solo sections in Baroque Music. Arco: To bow; used for string instruments. Pizzicato: to pluck; referred to stringed instruments which are usually bowed. Solo: A composition or selection for one performer. Descending: a melodic run moving from a high pitch to a low pitch Ascending: a melodic run moving from a low pitch to a high pitch Scalic: a melodic run which is reflective or representative of the movement of a scale. Tone Colour: The quality of sound produced by one instrument or voice as compared to another playing the same itch. Motif: A melodic and/or rhythmic idea that is used as a unifying element in a composition. Pas de Duex: (French for steps of two)This is a dancing term which reflects 2 dancers dancing a duet together. Chromatic: Movement in semi-tones or half-steps. Sustain: Long drawn out or held notes. Countermelody: is a sequence of notes, perceived as a melody in its own right, which is written to be played simultaneously with a more prominent lead melody. Typically a countermelody performs a subordinate role, and is heard in a texture consisting of melody plus accompaniment. Countermelodies are sometimes referred to as Sub-Melodies. Andante at a smooth walking pace. Moderato Moderate pace or tempo


Recording: Antarctica Movement III Penguin Ballet Shadow Dances Music for Guitar by Nigel Westlake Performed by Slava Grigoryan & Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2006 Online Analysis of Antarctica a+peter+westlake+analysis&hl=en&gl=au&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjJnkYIn41D71tw8O7O4-ngckQFWyJpWrs2BlwdlFtgTmtbbBzowUHrtxa8riPmrQTHcwlC152k12GIuH6nlHZMFF45xieBVkmadR5x7oB8yLrJQjZ3UK4pOxv754i2JZc14Q&sig=AHIEtbSfjVpUHM6cL2nJPQFijTRLW1Hvuw

Alfreds Pocket Dictionary of Music By: Sandy Feldstein Alfred Publishing Co. 1985 Wikipedia: Pas de Duex

Wikipedia: Countermelody

Google Images: For instrument pictures.