Repertoire Search

John McCabe

Publisher: Novello & Co

Sonata on a Motet (1976)
commissioned by the Manchester Camerata with assistance from the Gulbenkian Foundation
Work Notes
Derived from Tallis's 40-part motet 'Spem in Alium'
Publisher
Novello & Co Ltd
Category
Orchestra
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
1976
Duration
19 Minutes
Orchestration


Buy this work
Worldwide Sales   North American Sales
 
Study Score Study Score

Programme Note
John McCabe Sonata on a Motet (1976)
This work was commissioned by the Manchester Camerata, with financial assistance from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and BBC Radio Manchester, and its derivation is unlikely to be easily heard, since the motet provides simply the major source of inspiration for this piece, which is not a set of variations in the usual sense. There is a slow passage of expressive counterpoint quoted directly from the motet on its first appearance, and varied only slightly at its important subsequent reappearances, while the chords heard at the opening and at crucial moments during the work are again derived immediately from the Tallis. Otherwise, the piece might well be sub-titled 'Reflections on Hearing Tallis's 40-part Motet' - it is, in short, an independent work on its own in style, though the influence of Tallis's work extends more subtly into the piece than simply a few short quotations.

As an example of this might be cited the fourth of the five sections, a vigorous and full-blown fugue. Here, the fugue theme, surprising though this may seem, is derived (by variation technique) from the through-bass line which runs through the Tallis; it is to be doubted, however, if any listener would ever perceive this without being told about it. The five sections are played without a break, and are formed as follows: i) a slow opening, ii) a quicker movement of rather aggressive nature, iii) a long slow movement which is intermittently interrupted by a brief scherzo-like passage, though the basic lyricism is never disrupted for too long, iv) the fugue, and v) a final epilogue which returns to the opening feeling of the work, against which the fugue subject stutters into oblivion.

  • Ensemble
    St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Tamami Honma, piano
    Conductor
    Donatas Katkus
    Dutton Laboratories Epoch:
Performances
Date
Title
Close X

Newsletter Signup

Please fill in this form to receive regular news




Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2014 Music Sales Classical. Part of the Music Sales Group.