• Kenneth Leighton
  • Alleluia Pascha Nostrum (1981)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • Cellopf
  • 16 min

Programme Note

This work was commissioned by Raphael Wallfisch and Richard Markham with funds provided by the Arts Council. It was completed in 1981 and the first performance took place in a BBC concert in Manchester.

Like the Missa de gloria for organ (composed in the previous year) it is based on plainsong melodies from the 12th century Salisbury Chant for Easter Day, and this material (freely varied and extended) is present almost throughout.

The work is in six main sections played without a break and these may briefly be described as follows:

1. An intense introduction on cello solo (based on the Alleluia) leading to a slow accompanied melody which is entirely original. This is varied with pizzicato accompaniment and works towards a climax.

2. A slow pulsating variation again using the Alleluia.

3. A further variations marked Presto precipitoso which gradually builds up the tension and leads to -

4. A broad statement of the melody (varied) of the Haec Dies.

5. A return of the slow original melody of Section 1.

6. A mystical epilogue in which the cello sings quiet variations on the melody of the Epistle for the day (Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli). The music eventually fades away in the highest range of cello solo.

© Kenneth Leighton

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Alleluia pascha nostrum, Op. 85

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