Antiphonies, op.4

orchestra (2.2(1).2.2 2.2.2.0 2perc 12.10.8.6.4 (or 6.5.4.3.2))
duration 13½'
composed in 1966

dedication:

published by Novello and Co


performances:

first performed on 10/8/66, at Norfolk, Conn., USA, by the Orchestra of Yale University Summer School, conducted by the composer

recordings


programme note:

Antiphonies was commissioned by the Yale University Summer School of Music, and first performed at Norfolk, Conn., USA, on 10 August 1966. As its title implies, the piece emphasizes the spatial distribution of the forces used; the five differently constituted instrumental groups state, comment upon, answer, and contradict one another's material in a concertante manner.

The five main sections of the work treat the principles of antiphony in contrasting ways. The opening Lento, which is concerned with broad masses of sound periodically interrupted by more active material, sets out the characteristic timbres of the groups; it reappears several times in the course of the work. Energico, a quick movement which follows without a break, assembles and disperses, often in polyrhythmic ostinati, a number of fragmentary and explosive patterns, before disintegrating into slow chordal music reminiscent of the opening. A close-textured section now follows, Grazioso, in which the ensembles blend together much of the time. The Lento reappears briefly, leading to Spiritoso, in which the concertante implications of the previous sections are articulated in the parts for the two string ensembles. The final Lento resumes the character of the opening by way of a series of cadenza-like outbursts for winds and percussion, and the massed sounds of the various groups are transformed and finally dispersed.

JC

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Originally published by Oxford University Press


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