• Anthony Payne
  • Alleluias and Hockets (1987)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the South Bank Board

Full score for sale

  • 2ob+ca.2bn2tpt.3tbn
  • SATB
  • 10 min

Programme Note

I spent the whole of Autumn 1986 teaching in the New South Wales State Conservatorium composition school in Sydney and found my schedule so well organised that I had plenty of time both to compose and to catch up on listening projects that I promised myself for many years. I had, for instance, long wanted to immerse myself in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and spent many happy hours absorbing the Conservatorium's recordings of music by Dufay, Ockegham, Josquin, Byrd, Lassus and others. This bore fruit in two compositional projects; ECHOES OF COURTLY LOVE for brass quintet, essentially a suite of arrangements of secular chansons by Dufay, and CONSORT MUSIC for string quintet, premiered at the Cambridge Festival, which relates, if distantly, to the Elizabethan fantasy as opposed to the Austro/German quintet.

It seemed provident, then, that during the writing of these two pieces I should have been asked to contribute a Machaut parody to the 'South Bank Summer Music Festival', for this would capitalise on my recent preoccupations while extending me further backwards into the fourteenth century.

Rather than utilise the isorhythmic properties of the piece which would have appealed to me a few years ago when I was writing more constructivist music, I decided to take the Machaut 'Hoquetus David' as a given sound object and play with it - a new idea for me as I am suspicious of music that plays games. I run the 'Hoquetus' through simultaneously at three different speeds and in three different keys, F sharp, A and C, organising gaps in the phrases of the quicker versions so that the slower ones can keep up. The main guiding factor in organising the three layers was that I should be able to conjure my own kind of harmonic sound from the super-impositions. Another feature is the gradual emergence of the choir as a textural feature, singing the words 'Alleluia, nativitas gloriose virginis Marie'.

The piece is dedicated to the memory of my father-in-law, Gerald Manning, who died sadly during the course of composition.

ANTHONY PAYNE, August 1987