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Premiere Title of Commission Composer Listen
10/11/2012 The Mountain Spirit Fuhong Shi Listen Close

The text of this work comes from poetry anthology Nine Songs written by a great Chinese poet Qu Yuan. Nine Songs consists of 11 poems and presents various parts that reflect rituals of ancient China.

03/02/2012 White Label Experiment (for John Cage) Nicole Lizée Listen Close

Composed to celebrate what would have been the hundredth birthday of avant-garde pioneer John Cage, this work pays homage to the ideas and philosophies embodied in his music and his words. Lizée—noted for incorporating turntables and other electronic devices into the concert-music setting—here makes extensive use of various objets trouvés (including typewriters and vinyl records on portable turntables struck with mallets) as percussion instruments, regardless of their original purpose.

11/29/2011 Tango: Del Amor Imprevisto James Rolfe Listen Close

Rolfe’s own words best describe the challenge he faced in composing this work—the difficulty of writing from outside of the culture and style—and how he rose to meet it: “As an Anglo-Canadian composer writing a tango, I’m skating on thin ice. How can my stolid northern soul find its way into the very particular language, singing, rhythm, and soul of this dance?"

11/29/2011 Serbian Tango Ana Sokolovic Listen Close

The intention behing this commission was to create new approaches to a familiar form by seeing it afresh through a contemporary lens. Sokolović’s contribution is inspired both by jazz and by the traditional Serbian dance known as kolo.

10/30/2011 Uskok Rhapsody André Ristic Listen Close

Though written for brass, Uskok Rhapsody sounds unlike any brass music with which most ears are familiar. To begin with, its instrumentation is unconventional: three brass quintets rather than the standard ensemble. Ristic describes the work as “a catalogue of psycho-geographic memories” that he collected while visiting the Uskok region of Montenegro.

03/23/2011 Breathe James Rolfe Listen Close

'Breathe' redefines many musical periods through its blending of ancient and modern texts, and through the performance of new music with historical instruments and techniques. Each part of the piece focuses on one of the four classical elements—air, fire, water, and earth—all of which are strongly present in the poems Rolfe has chosen for his text.

02/24/2011 HeX Andrew Staniland Listen Close

'Hex' explores a series of shifting accents, pulses, dynamics, and textures, ranging from explosive ensemble passages to extremely subtle whistled textures, from highly complex melodic sections to the use of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

01/25/2011 Lost and Found Dorothy Chang Listen Close

Lost and Found represents Chang’s embrace of a musical heritage that had hitherto exerted little influence on her compositions, and her exploration of how that heritage might intersect with her own musical voice. Each of the work’s five short movements takes its own approach to integrating the Chinese and Western traditions.

10/20/2010 Dring, Dring Ana Sokolovic Listen Close

Sokolović describes 'Dring, Dring' as a “little musical theatre piece inspired by the telephone and the actions we take around that common object.” Divided into four sections (“dialling,” “answering,” “lullaby,” and “bye-bye”), the piece explores both the sounds emitted by the telephone and our human interactions with it.

04/27/2010 Time Zones Peter Hatch Listen Close

Written in up to eight different parts with eight different tempi and/or downbeats, 'Time Zones' gives each of the two players’ four mallets its own “time zone.” Performance of the work requires a drum-set player’s “limb independence,” but with the drummer’s independent use of arms and legs replaced by independence in the use of the mallets—a feat that Hatch describes as “not unlike trying to rub your tummy while tapping your head, but much more difficult.”