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for six percussionists  

The word hex means “to curse” or “to bewitch”; in compounds (such as hexagon, hexachord, or hexatonic), it denotes the concept of “six.” Appropriately, the digit 6 bears its own freight of supernatural meaning—as in 666, the “number of the beast” in the Book of Revelation. Staniland’s piece is inspired by the irrational but enduring notions that are found in every culture throughout known history and that play an undeniable role in the making of art. Superstition, luck, belief, intuition, sixth sense: all are ingredients in the creative process. 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—a device that not only creates a unique sonic experience but also provides the piece with a distinctly theatrical component. 

Performed by
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

Commissioned by Soundstreams and the Royal Conservatory with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts