1. Hore Cerny; 2. La Pesadilla; 3. Talencourt; 4. Voulez-vous que je vous chante?; 5. Mache dich mein geist bereit (Marcia - "Pseudo-Adagio"); 6. Shir Ha-Shirim
While no Lyric Suite,
this is my most ambitious composition to date, combining multiple
musical cultures dating over the past 1,000 years. It is dedicated to my
wife, Shayna. The first movement owes something to the world of
Janacek, and is even based upon a Czech folk tune (which one hears
partially disguised at one point).
The second (no jokes about “La Quesadilla,” please), is based upon music I have heard played by South Mexican street bands. A simple melody becomes more fragmented until it distorts into this nightmarish scherzo.
Talencourt starts with direct transcription of a Quebecois folk melody as originally played in the 1920s by “Villeneuve and Bouchard” a violin and accordion duo – later released on the 1985 album You Can Tell the World About This (Morning Star Records). It is then given short variation treatment in the styles of Bartók, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninov, in that order. The rest of the work is a mirror image of itself right back to the very beginning.
The fourth movement only lasts around a minute, and is a setting of the medieval melody (anonymously written) of the same name.
Mache Dich Mein Geist Bereit is a setting of a chorale melody, in quickly contrasting alternating sections of a March and a “Pseudo-Adagio” (which is at the same speed as the march, but the notes are obviously held much longer). Mahler probably would have hated this piece, but I don’t care, I will always love Mahler’s music.
Shir Ha-Shirim is a toccata-like distortion of a medieval Jewish setting of a text from the Song of Songs, III / 1, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loved; I sought him, but I found him not.” The Song of Songs is a love-song from God to Israel and vice-versa and it is read at Passover. After a short reprise of Hore Cerny the melody returns to the toccata, thereafter quietly dispersing.
PDF available / Recording available on TALENCOURT (Capstone Records)