Chloë J Hobbs (Canberra) – 2nd Place with Insect Reflection

Second place winner of the Matt Withers Young Australian Music Composition Competition
Second place winner of the Matt Withers Young Australian Music Composition Competition

Chloë has always been fascinated by the art of composing music. She holds a Bachelor of Music with first class honours, majoring in composition from the Australian National University. Her first symphonic work and related research thesis completed during her Honours year earned her a place in the postgraduate degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

She is fascinated with the tension of simple and complex timbres, the essence of form, and also with the essential balance between the intellectual and instinctual compositional thought process.

Chloë aims to explore each instrument and musical element she deals with in its entirety, stretching the performance techniques and aural capabilities to its limits. Chloë’s compositional voice is emotionally and intellectually driven culminating in a dramatically quirky sound.

 
Bent at the waist peering into the water
You’d think she’d have fought her if it wasn’t her own
But it was.
Her human features clearly attached yet avoiding detection
All she could see was her insect reflection.
Chloë J

Esoterically, Insect Reflection is best explained via the above prose. Musically, the piece utilises the notes from Graeme Koehne’s, Elevator Music. This short series of notes that consists of increasingly larger intervals (and its reverse that implies ever decreasing intervals) informs the construction of the piece on several levels. The macrocosm of the piece gradually builds up (in tension, volume, speed, interval size and general complexity) and then returns, mostly through retrograde, to its original state.

Also on the macrocosmic level is the use of a non-tonal sonata form, whereby a first and second theme are introduced before a development section, followed by a recapitulation that places variations of the first and second themes in the main ‘tonal centre’ of the piece (meaning, the piece focuses on a specific note and intervals as opposed to a key in the traditional sense).

This sonata-form style is used to create tension between fabrications of the old and the new, and also to prove that structures such as these do not have to be dependent on traditional tonality. The microcosm is also deeply influenced by the esoteric idea manifested through Koehne’s series of notes, fuelled by manipulations and experiments on the abovementioned structure. Most importantly, above all intellectual constructions of this piece, Chloë thinks that Insect Reflection sounds ‘kind-of-cool’ and quirky in her head; a musical sentiment worth sharing despite its complicated origins of construction.

Hear First or Third Place or Go Back