Length: c. 3 minutes
Instrumentation: 3 piccolos (1st = flute), 3 oboes, 3 clarinets (2nd = bass clarinet, 3rd = E-flat clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd = contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets (3rd = piccolo trumpet), 3 trombones (1st = bass trumpet), tuba, timpani, percussion (crotales, marimba, 9 large roasting tins, hi-hat, 4 field drums, antique cymbals, 4 gongs, glockenspiel, 2 bass drums, tam-tam, geophone, 2 woodblocks, 3 side drums, rototom), piano (= celesta), harp, and strings
First Los Angeles Philharmonic performance: June 4, 2000, Simon Rattle conducting (Ojai Festival)
These Premises Are Alarmed was premiered by the Hallé Orchestra under Kent Nagano September 12, 1996. For that occasion the composer wrote the following note:
“Having enjoyed two happy years as Composer-in-Association with the Hallé Orchestra, I was delighted when Kent Nagano proposed a new piece to be played at the opening concerts of the Bridgewater Concert Hall [in Manchester]. The thrill of writing for a new, as yet unknown, acoustic was at the forefront of my mind in composing These Premises Are Alarmed, and the central section of the piece is disguised to give as strong a sense as possible of the size and shape of the space it is played in. Obviously, the virtuosity and richness of sound of the Hallé were an equally important spur to creation. As for the title, I felt that any important new building must need adequate security; and what better way could there be of ‘proofing’ a new concert hall than with brand new music?”
John Henken is Director of Publications for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.