• Ian Venables
  • Remember This - Cantata for tenor, soprano, string quartet and piano, Op. 40 (2011)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • str 4tet, pf
  • Soprano, Tenor
  • 30 min

Programme Note

I have given Remember This the title ‘Cantata’ for the reason that the earliest secular cantatas of the 17th century were often for solo voice with ‘minimal’ instrumental accompaniment; its length also necessitating a grander title than just Song Cycle. Over its thirty-minute span, its eight sections (which generally alternate soprano and tenor), mirror Sir Andrew Motion’s evocative poem by contrasting musically, important elements from the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother (most notably fishing and horses), with her journey from near-death (‘Think of the failing body’) through to her burial. These generally sombre episodes are heralded by a short idea, first heard on the piano at the work’s opening. The unusual decision to set the title of the poem allowed me to present a crucially important four-note motif, which permeates the whole work. Each section runs into the next either immediately or with the shortest of written-out breaks; each of these sections are further highlighted by its own unique sound-world. In the final section, both soprano and tenor sing together; the music building in affirmation as ideas from the first two sections are woven into the overall texture. In spite of this, it ends quietly, urging the listener to ‘remember’, not only The Queen Mother, but also to reflect upon our own life’s journey.
‘Remember This’ was commissioned by The Limoges Trust, Birmingham.

Ian Venables