Simpson: Canzona, Media morte in vita sumu, Tempi & Eppur si muove
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The motet takes the form of a prelude and fugue. Plenty of evocative Simpsonian sonorities emerge in the prelude: stopped horns in fifths gently oscillating, and trenchant unison declamations alternating with haunting chorale motifs on trombones. The choral writing unfolds contrapuntally. A Beethovenian drive infuses the fugue, opening with the words ‘Sic vivificabit saecula’, first announced by tenors. Here the brass scoring is more homophonic, and the type of energy instantly familiar to all who cherish the momentum in Simpson’s symphonic scherzos. The coda assumes the form of a crescendo as the initial stopped-horn figure reappears against an obsessive timpani motif.
from notes by Matthew Taylor © 1998