Sunday, 13 January 2008

Ficta




Ficta means 'false', and in a musical context is usually applied to the addition of accidentals to the fixed modal 'gamut' of much medieval and renaissance music (notes which are false within the mode). On one level, that is what this piece does - moving from modes to chromatic and micro-tonal saturation. However, the 'falsification' runs much deeper here, and the whole piece is really a ficticious version of all sorts of aspects of music from between about 1100 and 1500. The games with style and parody - although never quotation, all the music is mine, and often created using methods that would be completely alien to a C14th composer - are something I've never returned to quite as obviously, but the practices of early music are things which continue to fascinate me and have informed my way of writing enormously.

For 9 players divided up into 3 trios, this is a rather long piece, in 5 movements, with the 4th being the longest, and the only one which uses all the trios at the same time. Here, however, you can hear the 2nd and 3rd movements, which are interconnected and the most playful and strange. This performance was at Stanford in 2002, with the ALEA III ensemble conducted by J.Karla Lemon.

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