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  • Writer's pictureJoe Gehrke

Kyan Pennell: A Young Talent Lost

The Power of Two concert features the debut performance of a piece composed by the musically talented 12-year old Kyan Pennell, who sadly passed away recently as a result of a tragic accident on their farm near Gympie.

The unfinished piece was discovered after Kyan’s passing, and the piece has been arranged and extended by Sunshine Coast-based composer and SCSO violinist, Clifford Bradley.

The piece discovered was only 16 bars, in a 3/4 waltz feel, written for the piano. Kyan had told his mum Amanda that he was writing a piece, and that he was imagining it on a grand scale.

After Kyan’s passing, his parents put a call out for help in arranging and extending the piece.

After reading a newspaper clipping send by his father, Clifford contacted Amanda and offered to orchestrate the piece. Being the local orchestra, the SCSO offered to perform the piece in an upcoming concert.

Clifford wanted to honour Kyan’s composition, to keep himself out of the way and keep it about Kyan, and he played Kyan’s 16 bars of music over and over, inhabiting Kyan’s piece for a few days to programme it inside his mind.

From that, ideas flowed from Kyans’ original ideas, and using all of his skills as an arranger to draw further material out of the existing work, Clifford started to expand and grow it. A secondary theme emerged, which felt like it had been birthed from Kyan’s original idea. The second half of the piece is largely based on this second theme.

Clifford asked Amanda what composers that Kyan was inspired by, and Beethoven and Mozart were among the answers. Clifford quoted a few little motifs from these composers in the piece. When listening to the piece you might notice quotes from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem.

Kyan loved ravens, and loved using latin names for things. Amanda named the piece Corvus – the latin name for the raven family.

The result is the Corvus Overture: a standalone piece in brisk 3/4 time.

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