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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67196
Recording details: November 2000
Oslo Cathedral, Norway
Produced by Chris Hazell
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2002
Total duration: 11 minutes 23 seconds

'A delightful programme of short pieces continues this series devoted to the organ music of a contemporary Czech composer. He could hardly wish for a more sympathetic or more virtuoso interpreter, and the recording renders the splendour of both instruments very vividly' (Gramophone)

'This CD continues the barnstorming success of the previous two … Eben's organ music is a major discovery, full of variety and invention. Heartily recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

Hommage à Henry Purcell
composer

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the death of Henry Purcell have inspired me to compose this music. It can indeed be a great pleasure for a composer to give a mark of his respect for a master of a past age, especially one whose work he particularly values and admires.

Some of Purcell’s creative attributes have a particular appeal for me: his music is inventive and melodically interesting, and it includes many striking themes. The character of his music is joyful and often inspired by folk tunes (Scottish and Irish), yet at the same time one finds profoundly religious moods in his work. The harmonies are rich and original (sometimes one even finds parallel sevenths), and the vitality of his music is often strengthened by means of rhythmic devices, through the use of triplets and dotted rhythms.

I have used these qualities as my starting point in composing the Hommage. I have quoted three of Purcell’s themes: the clearest reference is to the ‘Dance of the Furies’ from the opera Dido and Aeneas, whose echo effects seemed to me to lend themselves very well to the use of organ manuals (Allegro, from bar 13).

The theme of the ‘Triumphant Dance’ from the same opera is concealed: quoted in the 4-foot pedal in regular crotchets, it appears here as a foundation below all the other musical activities (Più mosso, bar 69).

Purcell’s best-known theme, the ‘Trumpet Tune’, is only quoted in detail within the framework of my own theme, in bar 208, bar 212, and, split across different octaves, in bars 228 to 231.

My chief concern was to convey the sparkling quality of Henry Purcell’s music with the tools of our own modern musical vocabulary. The advice given as to the stops to be used should be read only as suggestions, depending, of course, on the organ in question. They are merely intended as indications of my thoughts on the mood of individual passages. Nor are the given metronome markings meant to be adhered to too strictly, since they too may have to be adjusted according to the acoustics of the building in which the organ is to be played.

from notes by Petr Eben © 2002
English: Julia Rushworth and Atlas Translations

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