Duae Cantatae Breves

for Wind Ensemble

Sydney Hodkinson

Duration: 00:17:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

These two compositions were sketched on Easter Sunday (April 3, 1994) following a performance of Igor Stravinsky?s 1945 "Mass" which I conducted the previous Good Friday. They were originally entitled ?anthems,? but their working-out evolved from the historical development of the anthem form (from Latin motet through 16th century English and Italian models, the verse anthem) to the innovations ? particularly by John Blow and Henry Purcell ? that resembled the Cantata design.

Both ?short cantatas? are based on a fragment ? and its transposition up a major second ? from Gesualdo?s 16th century madrigal, "Resta di darmi noia" (?Cease to give me anguish ? cruel and false thought?). A resultant ?12-note row? (but using only nine pitches) provided the genesis for all of the material throughout the work. The pieces are simply two extended ?commentaries? on the Gesualdo excerpt: the first (I) dealing with the ramifications of the melodic line (in the form of a slowly-unfolding canon), and the second (II) with the harmonic implications.

One further motivation might be mentioned: there is an abundance of repertoire for the wind band that is ebullient and often rapid, written for popular occasions and festive events, but only a rather sparse selection that is truly slow and/or meditative. I wished to continue similar thoughts I had explored in earlier wind pieces: "Pillar" and "Tower" (1974), "Cortege" (1975), and "Echo Preludes" (1983), maintaining a simple and direct sonic fabric in keeping with the solemn nature of my intent. Accordingly, the piece employs a limited percussion palette, intermediate technical demands, and a responsorial character.

"Duae Cantatae Breves" is approximately 17 minutes in duration and was commissioned by a consortium: the College Band Directors National Association, and the Wind Ensembles of Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, and Yale University; it was written in memory of friends who died within the past few years. The work was composed in Fairport in early 1995.

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by a consortium of Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, and Yale University Wind Ensembles, and the College Band Directors National Association.
Composition Date 1995
Orchestration 3(Picc.) 2 5(E-Fl.Cl./B.Cl.) 2 4Sax. - 4 4 3(B.Tbn.) 1 Euph.; 6Perc. Pno. 2Cb.; opt. SATB
Premiere 7th May, 1995. Cornell University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mark Scatterday, Ithaca, NY.

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