Chorale metamorphosis Op11
Written in 1996 and revised in 2005-6, this extended work is
based on two themes which eventually combine, rather in the spirit
of Franck’s Chorales. However, here the musical language
is influenced not only by French sources, but also by Spanish,
English and German traditions of several centuries. Pause, rests
and silence are very important elements in this piece.
After an introduction, the first theme, a Genevan Psalm tune,
enters softly. A little Fugue follows, in rather French fashion,
played on three distinct tone colours, its subject anticipating
the second theme. This leads to a triple canonic presentation
of the Genevan first theme. Mysterious chords and melodic scraps,
originally heard in the introduction, reappear on Voix Céleste
and Flute, creating a sense of expectation. Those same chords
now become the sustained accompaniment of the second theme: a
decorated solo Cornet melody. The centre, or pivotal point of
this work is marked by a Recitative passage, building to a climax,
then melting away to a stream of semiquavers. The ensuing Scherzo-like
section is a mirror-image of the Cornet melody: with flowing sextuplets
outlining the original version. On a 2 ft stop, the Pedal hints
at every alternate line of the Genevan tune: thus, both themes
are outlined simultaneously. After two interjections, the Scherzo
gives way to a return of the Fugue, now in more Germanic style.
As before, the triple canon follows, but here in combination with
the second theme, declaimed by the Pedal on reeds. Borrowing material
from the Recitative, the restless Pedals resound beneath reiterations
of the Genevan tune. Semiquavers from the Scherzo form a Toccata-like
texture, and material from earlier sections returns here to bring
the work to its stirring close on an open fifth.
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Duration: about 18'30"