Etude No.3 - Pour les Arpèges Composées


Commissioned by Stephen Gutman with funds provided by Dartington International Summer School
First Performance
26.5.98, Purcell Room, London: Stephen Gutman
Programme Notes
The étude is a double homage to Debussy and to Benjamin Britten. Britten’s Diversions for piano and orchestra is one of a number of his works employing recurring interval cycles based upon fourths and fifths. Connecting this device in the Diversions with Debussy’s not unrelated Etude pour les Arpèges Composées provided the trigger for this étude, which quotes neither work whilst alluding to both. I have employed circles of fourths, fifths, and used both intervals to encircle other constellations of changing modes and harmonies. Both hands are in mensural canon for much of the piece, which results in hemiolas and cross-phasing of the harmonic rhythm. This étude is dedicated to the artist Tom Phillips on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday; a line from his book ‘Humument’ reflects the maritime calm of the music: 'By and by, out of the white horizon, the long, low sea.' The piece was commissioned by Stephen Gutman with funds provided by Dartington Summer Arts. Julian Anderso

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