Gregory Lee Newsome

in medias res

Instrumentation bass clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, cello
Duration 10’
Year 2005


Download Score (PDF)

Programme Note

“in medias res” is a literary construct in which the story opens in the midst of the narrative, often at a critical point, rather than at the beginning. The context of earlier or later events, necessarily elaborated on after this type of opening, attains the particular quality of consistently referring to this central event.

Though this type of narrative structure suggests an approach to compositional form, the sense of existing “in the midst” is more important to this music. The instruments navigate formal sections at different rates, leading to sudden interruptions or subtle shifts of context, reminding us of our destination, our origin, our path.


This piece was premiered by Standing Wave on March 20th, 2005 at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.


“Gregory Lee Newsome has studied with Saariaho, yet there was no sense in which his in medias res sounded derivative. With its varying tempos in the different instruments, pair of which sometimes engaged in conversation while the others provided commentary, the music rarely rose above mezzo-forte. Of all the evening’s music, this was the piece I felt most needed a second hearing to make its full impact. Fortunately the CBC were present recording the evening, so we should all have the opportunity for that second hearing at some point. A truly remarkable evening’s music.” - Deryk Barker