concert work, contest piece
Microtopia was inspired by the wondrous nature film Microcosmos, in which the insect world is magnified into large-as-life tableaux. The title of the work is a combination of the words microscopic (micro) and biotope (topia), in reference to this weird and wonderful world.
The work consists of four parts:
• Habitat: the mysterious living environment of the insects (concludes with a suspensive chord that heralds the start of part 2)
• Coleoptera: the beetles
• Papilionoidea: the butterflies
• Hymenoptera: the wasps
The music aims to be suggestive rather than produce a literal evocation or depiction. I am convinced that everybody can imagine different scenes and moods when listening to the four parts, from marching beetles to fluttering butterflies and aggressive wasps. The colourful orchestration and harmonisation really work in this respect. The use of trills, atmospheric chords and irregular times (five-eight) gives the work an unusual character.
This work was commissioned by the wind orchestra of the Royal School of Music of Antwerp.