• Robert Saxton
  • Canzona: in memoriam Igor Stravinsky (1978)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

First performed in February 1979 by the Northern Sinfonia, conducted by David Blake

  • 1110/hn/hp/vn.va.vc
  • 13 min

Programme Note

This work was composed between August and October 1978. Although written in memory of Igor Stravinsky it is in no way an elegy or lament; its character is rather that of a musical poem in praise of Stravinsky, but this does not imply that it is an extrovert or 'showy' piece.

There are nine short sections which are played without a break, and the musical ideas which are heard at the outset supply the material for the remainder of the work.

At the beginning the strings play in three-part harmony and the woodwind interrupt twice with a three-note chord. During this section the note-against-note harmony dissolves into polyphonic writing and this alternates with three-part harmonic passages. Throughout the piece harmony and polyphony continually succeed one another, although of course each element is present in the other and the vertical intervals of the polyphonic passages are as important as the line of each individual voice. At the close the writing becomes completely homophonic, the work closing with slow chords.

© Robert Saxton


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