• Barry Guy
  • Bitz! (1979)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Capricorn Ensemble

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  • 15 min

Programme Note

10 pieces and 10 minutes of music for Capricorn's 10th anniversary season.

The ten pieces were proportioned according to Corbusier's 'Modulor' - a universal harmonious measure based on the human scale - which provided me with the discipline to compose with strict time limits in mind and to construct a plan that proposed unity with instrumental variation. Given an ensemble of three strings, three wind and a piano, there appeared to be strong suggestions of grouping that could balance each other either side of a central axis.

The final plan: 1) Ensemble 01'54"
2) Piano solo 00'43"
3) Bass clarinet with strings (and piano) 01'10"
4) Violoncello 00'43"
5) Ensemble 00'16"
6) Ensemble 00'16"
7) Alto flute solo 00'43"
8) Violin with wind 01'10"
9) Piano solo 00'43"
10) Ensemble 01'54"

What of the title BITZ!? The material for the pieces was derived from the scales and note rows constructed on the harmonies of a song that I incorporated in my music theatre piece Songs from Tomorrow. BITZ! was the anguished cry from a destitute person as portrayed in a poem by Paul Rutherford and in the subsequent musical scenario.

Although the ten pieces may be heard as a set of variations on an unknown theme (unless you know the Songs tune), the material itself is closely linked from piece to piece so that they have an internal logic and consequently stand alone without the generative force that here stands in the shadows.

There are also ten "bits" of music.

© 1984 Barry Guy