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Mills Mess

for ensemble
1+picc.1.1.1/cbsn – – 2perc – pf – str(

The ‘Mills Mess’ is a popular juggling pattern, developed by Steve Mills in the 1970s. The maneuver is renowned for its visual discontinuity and practical complexity; “a mind-boggling pattern of circling balls, crossing and uncrossing hands, and unexpected catches” (George Gillson). Also encouraged is the use of claws, chops and other flourishes to further disrupt the already irregular visual patterns.

The piece aims to capture the essence of this style through the use of fragmented and hocketing basslines, repeating yet continually adjusting rhythmic patterns, cascading flourishes and a discontinuous form, as well as a general boisterousness in the material itself.

Recording available on Antiarkie, released on NMC Recordings, performed by the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble conducted by Oliver Knussen.


22 June 2018 Britten-Pears Young Artists, Jonathan Berman (cond.), Aldeburgh Festival, Suffolk
27 June 2016 Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Mikel Toms (cond.) Besední dům, Brno
30 January 2015 Manson Ensemble, Oliver Knussen (cond.), Dukes Hall, London

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