Poul Ruders BRAVOUR-STUDIEN
In spite of its 15th Century origin, the secular French popular tune "L’homme Armé", has been used as cantus firmus and "blue-print" in numerous Mass-compositions through History, in a few cases as late as the 17th century.
I have taken the ancient tune by the hair and hauled it through a gauntlet of various stilistic and assocation-making variations named "Bravour-Studien", a labeling occasionally seen on old editions of Franz Liszt’s Etudes.
The "cello-and-bow-harnessed" man is fencing his way through nine virtuoso variations, the last one "Variation Classique" being rather "shady" in appearance, ending with a long stretch of dotted sixths, thus emphasizing the latent hollowness inherent in this sort of music.
Poul Ruders, november 1976