This is the second of three large works arising from my earlier choral pieces. Paraphrase I, for organ (first performed by the composer at the Pershore Organ Week 1967) is based on a three-part motet John to a text by Thomas Blackburn. Paraphrase II, for piano (written for John McCabe and first performed on 3rd December 1968) is based on the motet Mark, also by Blackburn. Paraphrase III (Outcry) was commissioned by the Coventry Philharmonic Society for its 25th anniversary next May, and is scored for contralto, chorus and orchestra.
The Paraphrase pieces are not traditional variations, although themes and rhythms from the motets appear constantly, but are transformations and extensions of ideas in a way not possible in a shorter vocal piece. There are seven sections altogether, varied in manner and means. The first (A-B-A) exposes the main theme in telescoped fashion loudly, and a secondary texture, always soft and unchanged, is its centrepiece. The simplest form of the main theme (E minor) comes at the end of the work.
© Peter Dickinson