• Brian Chapple
  • Cantica (1978)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Highgate Choral Society

  • 12222200timpstr
  • SATB
  • soprano, tenor
  • 20 min

Programme Note


CANTICA was commissioned by the Highgate Choral Society with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. The Society gave the first performance on 2 December 1978 conducted by Brian Wright.

The text of CANTICA is selected from three Psalms, 102, 40 and 96, progressing from the anguish and supplication of 'Domine, exaudi orationem meam , to the joy of 'Cantate Domino canticum novum'.

The choral first section sets the first two verses of the Penitential Psalm 102 and is forceful and rhythmic in character. The solo tenor enters 'Quia defecerunt sicut fumus dies mei' at the same high level of intensity; but the music gradually becomes calmer and thus forms a link with the next Psalm, 'Expectens., expectavi Dominum'. Initially this is scored for divided female voices with woodwind and trumpets. At 'Et exaudivit preces meas' the remaining choral and orchestral forces are also employed. The stillness of the beginning of this Psalm returns and a long drawn out choral cadence ushers in the final main section. This is announced by the first entry of the solo soprano, who is joined by the tenor and whose material is then taken up by the choir. In a fast middle section 'Cantate Domino canticum novum' the writing is mainly for the two soloists and orchestra with choral interpolations gaining in importance. After a climax the tranquil atmosphere returns, bringing the piece back to the tonal centre of the very opening.

This work is dedicated to my daughter, Rosalind.

Brian Chapple 1978