Julian Wagstaff - In Extremis for string trio (2011)
You can listen to MP3 files of excerpts from the first two movements of In Extremis (recorded live at a performance in Edinburgh in November 2011) by clicking on the 'Play' buttons below:
This string trio was commissioned by Music in KB, the music society at King's Buildings (the science campus of Edinburgh University), during Julian Wagstaff's tenure as Composer in Residence. The work was the result of a project entitled "music at extreme conditions", during which Julian spent a number of weeks embedded within the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions (CSEC), working closely with scientists who investigate how substances behave at extreme temperatures and pressures, such as those found at the centre of the earth or on distant planets. The music is a result of the composer's time spent within CSEC.
In Extremis received its first performance at Edinburgh's E-Science Institute during the 2011 Edinburgh International Science Festival (excerpts above). It was performed by Tristan Gurney (violin), Michael Beeston (viola) and Mark Bailey (cello), all members of the renowned Edinburgh Quartet. A second performance was given at CSEC itself in November 2011 with Clara Biss on viola.
The first movement draws on Dr. Olga Degtyareva’s ground-breaking work on the high-pressure
solid phases of the element sulphur, with the “SI-SVI” of the title referring to a
journey from sulphur phase one through to phase six. The second movement was inspired by Dr. John Loveday’s work on methane hydrates on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, while the third is a musical treatment of the high explosive CL-20, and is indebted to Professor Colin Pulham’s work on the high-pressure “zeta” form of the substance.
Get the sheet music (full score and instrumental parts) for In Extremis right now as a digital download from SheetMusicPlus: