Three Parts Off the Ground - after Henry Purcell

(1995)

by Julian Anderson

Description
chamber ensemble of 13 players
Duration
13
Genres
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
Instrumentation
2 fl(I=picc.II=picc+afl).2 cl(II=bcl) - hn - perc(1): vib/siz.cym/susp.cym/tam-t/whip - mandolin - harp - 2 vln.vla.vlc.db
Commission
Commissioned by London Musici with funds provided by the Arts Foundation
First Performance
6.12.95, St John's Smith Square, London: London Musici/Mark Stephenson/Rambert Dance Company
Availability

Score withdrawn

Programme Notes
This piece combines several functions. On one level, it is my contributions to the Purcell tercentenary celebrations. The relation of the three pieces I have composed to Purcell’s music varies very widely, ranging from moments of straight arrangement through paraphrase to a much more distant and ambiguous set of models. The principal part of the work is the third, entitled ‘Pavans in memory of John Lambert’ - a tribute to my much missed teacher, himself a fine composer, who died in 1995. This is the most complex and developed of the movements, modelled upon, but not directly quoting, several of Purcell’s pavans. This movement uses a wide variety of techniques and textures derived from Purcell and elsewhere, including canon, two-part convertible counterpoint, heterophony (the echoing of a melody by many distorted versions of itself) and even straight four-part voice-leading, with which the piece opens and to which, from time to time, it returns. Finally the musical material is condensed into a calmly undulating sequence of overlapping chords. This third part of the work has been choreographed by Sara Matthews of Rambert Dance Company, but in fact the whole shape of the work and the type of dances used, as well as their character, was evolved through discussions with her. I am very grateful to her for her sympathetic and helpful suggestions. It has been a great pleasure to work closely with her on this piece. The first two parts are short and introductory in nature; first an overture, largely bright and extrovert, followed by a sequence of interlocked dances (part II) which never quite settle down into the regular meters they suggest. The piece is dedicated to Bayan Northcott. Julian Anderson

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