Composition Date: 2009
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Chamber Orchestra (10 to 20)


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Flute
  • 1 x Clarinet
  • 1 x Bassoon
  • 1 x Horn
  • 1 x Trombone
  • 1 x Percussion
  • 1 x Guitar
  • 1 x Piano
  • 2 x Violin
  • 1 x Viola
  • 1 x Violoncello
  • 1 x Double bass
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Programme Note:
Evolution, according to the Webster online dictionary, means “a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state”. This definition is problematic, as it implies that nature has a design to become more complicated. Although it seems to be the trend that things get more complex – this is not always the case, particularly with Darwinian natural selection. Sometimes things become simpler, or “devolve”. This idea was a guide through the compositional process.
Devolution is in three movements: Love song one for C.Darwin, Love Song two for C.Darwin, and Unweaving the Rainbow. Love Song one begins with a lyrical violin solo which is quickly overtaken by a rambunctious opposition from the ensemble. The movement is dense and relentlessly rhythmic. To me this opposition is a metaphor for the resistance that Darwin’s ideas were met with. At the end of the movement lyricism and reason prevail, marked by a opening melody, this time played on the electric guitar.
Love Song Two brings us into a sound world hinted at in the first, but distilled. This movement features a typewriter and muted piano and guitar. There is then a rather eccentric love duet with the horn and trombone. Throughout this movement there is a secret message in morse code.
Unweaving the rainbow ( the title of a book by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins). Beings with a furious and murky piano solo. This solo is interrupted the strings , which begin to deconstruct the motifs in the piano solo, building towards a large crescendo. At this moment, arguably the climax of the piece, musical time suddenly stops and begins to move backward, and the piano begins a postlude-like solo that moves towards a clear and transparent statement of the raw musical materials of the piece.
Commissioned by: CBC

Premiere Information:
March 26 2009, Rolston Hall, Banff, AB; ECM + ; Conductor: Veronique LaCroix


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1200 S784dev
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Chamber Orchestra (10 to 20)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • October 15, 2009
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (25 p.) ;
    25 Pages
    Height: 43 cm
    Width: 28 cm
    Parts page count: 59
    13 parts ([59] p.) ;
    Height: 32 cm
    Width: 24 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trombone, electric guitar, piano, percussion, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass
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Devolution: Score
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Devolution by Andrew Staniland (Score)
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