Angustam Amice : for choir (SATB) and string orchestra
by Andrián Pertout (2015)
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Angustam Amice sets to music a poem by Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 B.C.-8 B.C.) from the classic text of Carmina (23 B.C.) - a collection of four books of Latin lyric poems, more commonly referred to as the 'Odes of Horace'. The fourth stanza of Liber III.2, or Book 3.2 (the selected poem featuring a metrical pattern based on an Alcaic stanza, or 11 × 2, 9, 10) opens with the famous line 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' (or 'Sweet and proper it is to die for your country') utilized by English poet and soldier Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) in his October 1917 anti-war poem where, as Kenneth Simcox from the Wilfred Owen Association explains, "the title is ironic" and "the intention was not so much to induce pity as to shock, especially civilians at home who believed war was noble and glorious." 'Angustam Amice' also adopts an interpretation of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's tintinnabuli style within its utilization of a Dorian #4/ Lydian b7 two-octave scale (O and RI forms for ascending Dorian #4, R and I forms for descending Lydian b7).
In an article entitled 'Musical Archetypes: The Basic Elements of the Tintinnabuli Style', contained within the publication of The Cambridge Companion to Arvo Pärt Leopold Brauneiss describes the essential ingredients of the musical language of Pärt thus: "Tintinnabulation: the joining of scale and triad: In tintinnabulation, every single note of a melody voice formed by scales (which English conductor Paul Hillier calls the M-voice) ideally gets assigned a note of a triad at a certain distance to this M-voice. In the so-called first position above (+1) or below (−1) the M-voice, this produces diatonic dissonances of minor and major seconds and also thirds and fourths; in second position (+2, −2) we get fourths, fifths, and sixths. By this method, a second voice develops consisting exclusively of triad notes which sounds throughout the whole composition like the peal of bells. From this we get the terms tintinnabuli-voice (T-voice), and tintinnabuli triad (T-triad), which itself consists of three tintinnabuli-notes (T-notes)."
Instrumentation: SATB choir (suggested: 188.8.131.52), strings (184.108.40.206.2).
Duration: 10 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional
Dedication note: In Memory of the First World War (1914-1918)
Commission note: Commissioned by Mario Dobernig and the Victoria Chorale in Celebration of Arvo Pärt’s 80th Birthday
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Arvo Pärt Tintinnabuli; Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 B.C.-8 B.C.), Carmina (23 B.C.), Odes of Horace
Composed as part of the 100th Anniversary of the ANZAC Landings at Gallipoli (25 April, 1915).
- Has as subject/About: Commemoration of war
Performances of this work
18 Oct 16: 34th Asian Composers League (ACL) Festival & Conference / 2nd ‘Asia-Europe’ New Music Festival, Hanoi, Vietnam. Featuring Vietnam National Opera and Ballet Choir, Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, Zoe Zeniodi.
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