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for flute, clarinet, viola and cello

Chants was commissioned by the London Sinfonietta as part of Writing the Future, which is generously supported by the Boltini Trust, Anthony Mackintosh and Michael & Patrica McLaren-Turner. 

Chants is essentially a melodic work; it features almost no chords, and all the harmonies that can be heard were conceived in terms of the linear interaction between voices. The title refers to the plainchant-like writing heard moving in parallel harmonics in the viola and cello shortly after the opening, which is loosely inspired in terms of its shape and syntax by some of the works of Guillaume de Machaut, especially his Mistra de Nostre Dame, with its characteristic cadences in parallel fifths. Later in the work, another kind of 'chant' emerges: a long-breathed melodic line passed around the ensemble to provide variation in colour and timbre, which eventually flowers into a richer three, and then four voice texture.


26 April 2015 Florida State University New Music Ensemble, Florida State University, USA

8 December 2013 London Sinfonietta, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London, UK

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