23 January 2014

Op. 106, nos. 3 & 5

For a piece which I began writing 14 months ago (having set perhaps a third of the text), and only this month set myself to complete in earnest, I think the Credo some fine work.

Finishing it Tuesday ending, I began half to wonder if my repetition of some of the points of imitation is too obvious. The points at m.91ff and m.151ff. are at the same pitch level, but I think that the two passages differ sufficiently, and there is enough music intervening, that the connection is subtle and valuable. The intervening similar point (m.119ff) is at a different pitch level (and sets up the final cadence of the piece), and cast in a different meter. The meter and pitch level are recapitulated in the Amen, but for the latter I both mixed up the relations of the voices, added delicate ornamental figures, and smeared the unfolding of the counterpoint. Overall, I think it a passable application of Schoenberg's idea of developing variation.

The points of imitation at m.80ff and m.159ff. (call them collectively A) use the same head motive as B, above, but work to a different cadence. A1 and A2 differ partly in that the latter iteration is unadorned, and also in a reversed relation to B: A1 precedes B1, while A2 follows B3.

m.170ff. is arguably a C, same head motive, briefer point overall, freer treatment. I am pleased that the soprano elision (mm.89-101 / mm.168-170) first connects A1 to B1, then A2 to C.

All in all, I don't think my hand was too heavy, and that the connections are organic.

Suppose I mustn't think of the score as finished, until I have provided keyboard reductions of the four-staff sections. But it does feel done to me . . . and having finished the Credo, a daft thought crossed my mind.

Prelude to the daft thought: the Credo freshly done, I sent it to Paul. Even though there's not the least chance he could do the piece at FCB (a Unitarian parish), since it was partly on Paul's suggestion that I am pursuing the Mass as an overall project, I wanted to send him the Credo, that he may see how the plant is flourishing whose seed he planted.

We had a nice exchange of brief e-mail messages yesterday morning, and I said that I wasn't sure which component of the Mass I wanted to address next, but that I would take a break with a chamber piece first (the mezzo & bari sax piece, a setting of Leo Schulte's "The Crystalline Ship," for a concert Peter Bloom is playing in, in March). Paul then wrote (what already I knew, actually) to the effect of, write us a Sanctus or an Agnus Dei and I'll get it done.

So, mentally I made a quick scan of the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei . . . and here came the daft idea. I was just writing (above) about all the contrapuntal material which I used repeatedly in the Credo; one contrapuntal bit which I pointedly reserved for single use, is the chromatic Et homo factus est. And I thought, how fitting it would be to make use of that in the Agnus Dei.

There: I've said it. Maybe I'll toss the idea out as crazy. But, no . . . turns out I like that idea; and I have composed the first petition of the Agnus Dei.

Thoughts which have stolen upon me overnight: variant of mm.1-9 for the second petition; literal repeat (or strict transposition) of miserere nobis; literal repeat (or strict transposition) of mm.1-7(-ish) for the third petition; adapt a short passage from the Kyrie for the final qui tollis peccata mundi; adapt the Crucifixus point of imitation from the Credo for the dona nobis pacem. I like all the ties, I believe I can make it all work smoothly . . . and in a sense, the only sleeve-up-rolling labor at this stage is the working out of mm. 18-26.

So, I may have an Agnus Dei to send to Paul (and Nana) this weekend.

[I shall probably wait until I write the Sanctus before sending both it and the Agnus Dei to Heinrich.]

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