A Past Persistence

Commissioned by the Aurora Brass Quintet 
A Past Persistence was commissioned by the Aurora Brass Quintet for its performances at the Sixth International Festival of Brass in Verona, Italy. Clearly a throwback to the music of the Renaissance, the work's stylistic appropriations are further betrayed by the notational preference for long note values, the near-absence of ties, and, in the initial phrases, the lack of bar lines.

The piece begins with an extensive introduction during which the material forming the basis of the composition slowly unfolds. Following a prolonged (and intensified) clausula vera, the ensemble dives headlong into a rhythmic romp inspired by chanson in general and musique mesurée à l'antiquein particular. Notable throughout are the many pauses designed to exploit the resonance of the halls in which the premiere performances took place. This homophony is interrupted by the hoquet-ishness [sic] of the central section -- another confluence of the antiquated and modern. Here, pulse is maintained by a variety of special effects such as foot shuffling and mute clanging. The "hiccups" build to a unison climax and a return to the opening where, in conclusion, the introductory fragments are retooled to fit the mood and tempo of the dance. The work is dedicated to friend and colleague, Gary Malvern.


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