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The three 'Jesum' chords provide unifying musical material for the whole cycle. They are each built from five pitch classes (e.g. G, A, B, C, E) the intervals between which are always one Third and three Seconds. The pitches are then rearranged in different octaves. The third 'Jesum' contains a squashed version, using only tones and semitones, creating the climatic chord of the sequence. Sometime after the first performance of Dum transisset the composer made a change to the original 'Jesum' chords, as he began to contemplate cyclic connections between all the works of his residency. He wanted the movements 'all to refract through one another'. He spoke of 'building up a reservoir of material' as the cycle progressed.
Finnissy copies Taverner’s scheme for the polyphony with repeats of ever decreasing length: ABC – BC – C. Tavener's three large polyphonic sections are interspersed with two sections of unembellished plainchant. Finnissy dresses the first of these up with his own rhythms for the altos. For his second interpolation we hear two-part writing of a raw elemental quality, which hints at rather earlier music than Taverner. Finnissy only sets the first two verses of Chapter 16 of Mark’s Gospel, but the final bars give a deep sense of verse 8:
And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
from notes by Andrew Nethsingha © 2020
|Finnissy: Pious Anthems & Voluntaries|
"This is extremely beautiful music—rich, deep, full of colours, emotions and allusions. The music requires time to marinade in the listener’s mind. I have gradually got to know the music, one piece at a time, over a four-year period—this has been ...» More