By All Means stems from a similar interest in the Anglican choral tradition, but with a slightly different set of rules. The commission was from the Juilliard School and the Royal Academy of Music, and it had to do with reacting to (and writing for roughly the same forces as) Webern’s Concerto for nine instruments, op. 24. My own response to this guideline was to focus on the opening three pitches of the row Webern uses, which, to me, produce a very diatonic outline of a B flat major chord. One of the most delicious psychological reactions I have had to most serial music is that my brain tries to turn twelve-tone music into post-Wagnerian tonal harmonies: thick, rich chords brimming with meaning and profound significance. I suffer from this disorder even when presented with the thorniest Wuorinen or the most inscrutable Babbitt. Listening to the row from op. 24, I was immediately reminded of the cross-relations in Weelkes motets, where a G major chord and a G minor chord can appear in the same bar a split second apart. By All Means is a large arch of several textures in which both Weelkes and Webern can coexist and collaborate: the scattered points of Webern’s orchestration organised together by a Tudor resolution, or the shimmering counterpoint of Weelkes sent astray by sudden chromatic variation.
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