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Why use a mixture of sacred Latin text and secular English text? Partly, I suppose, because I believe the boundary between the two worlds is an illusion. Walls and fences have, in my opinion, always caused conflict and I like to demolish them when I can. But I think also the choice of texts was, in itself, a parapraxis: 'a psychical conflict that prevents direct expression of one’s feelings or intentions and diverts it along indirect paths'. Otherwise known as a 'Freudian slip' ' saying one thing when intending to say another but, deep down, wanting to say what actually comes out. Or, accidentally leaving your umbrella at a friend’s house, which really means you want to go back, or never wanted to leave. In other words: a mistake, in word or deed, that reveals your true intentions.

So the piece does represent conflict—something we all face throughout our lives and which I was certainly facing at the time of composing (and is the cause of all parapraxes)—but it is also an attempt to resolve it. Perhaps the Latin text represents my heart, and the secular text my head. Or vice versa. Or perhaps, as an atheist, I am leaving my umbrella in the church.

In defining the word parapraxis, Freud said thatno human behaviour is truly accidental. Whilst I probably don’t subscribe to such a categorical view, I do sense a kernel of truth there.

The English text is not poetry, in the sense that I don’t expect it to stand alone without the music, of which it is an integral part. I shall be eternally grateful to Sigyn for giving me the opportunity to express the themes contained within it.

from notes by Stephen Frost © 2011


Frost & Karlsen: Bassoon Concertos
SIGCD258Download only


Movement 1: Pie Jesu
Track 1 on SIGCD258 [6'50] Download only
Movement 2: De profundis
Track 2 on SIGCD258 [8'57] Download only
Movement 3: In paradisum
Track 3 on SIGCD258 [4'40] Download only

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