Two Organa from 1994 is for large ensemble, lasting 6 minutes. The first piece, ‘Notre Dames des Jouets’ is based on a white note music box; the second, twice as long and much darker in character, was written for the 20th anniversary of the Schoenberg Ensemble. Both pieces exemplify the transparency, clarity, and economy of Knussen’s art. Each organum is based on the principles of simple medieval polyphony: a melody is reinforced by another part, which Knussen embroiders with complex, imaginative forms of imitation and counterpoint. This product comprises the full score.
“…joyously playful polyrhythmic games on French plainchants and melismas…”
The Times (Hilary Finch), 27 January 2009