Australian composer James Ledger

New Tricks for Old Dogs
14 mins
Version also for: rec-viol da gmb-hpschd.

Premiere: 14 September 2008
Verbruggen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Genevieve Lacey, Neal Peres Da Costa, Daniel Yeadon

I imagined a trio of 'ancient instruments' transported into modern times and being asked to perform popular musical styles developed since the baroque – the era of their pinnacle. There are six short movements in the work. The title of each movement alludes to my approach of how this trio might cope with performing styles that were unknown to them. Their minds are in the here and now, but their hearts firmly in 17th century Venice.

New Tricks for Old Dogs was written in the same mental spirit as Johann has Left the Building, and they really are companion pieces. In both works, I have attempted to mesh musical idioms of the past with those of today. The original trio consisted of harpsichord, viola da gamba (or bass viol) and recorders. Due to the rarefied availability of recorder and viola da gamba players, I have made a version for soprano saxophone, cello and harpsichord.

New Tricks for Old Dogs was commissioned by Genevieve Lacey, Daniel Yeadon and Neal Peres Da Costa with funding provided by the Australia Council for the Arts.

NOTE: When performing New Tricks, period dress is recommended but not compulsory.

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