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Chant with garlands : full orchestra

by Jennifer Fowler (1974)

Audio Sample

Performance by BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, John Hopkins from the CD Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 1

Works of Jennifer Fowler. Transcriptions Disc 1


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Chant with garlands


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Chant with garlands : for orchestra / by Jennifer Fowler.

Library shelf no. 784.2/FOW 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Chant with Garlands begins with a horn melody, progressing phrase by phrase. At first, very few notes are used. The number of notes are gradually extended and the range progresses gradually downwards. Meanwhile, other instruments decorate the horn melody with overlapping phrases, using the same notes as the horn, but at different speeds and in different combinations.

With reference to the title of the piece, one might say that these other instruments are adding "garlands" to the basic chant taken by the horn. The title may also be taken as an oblique reference to Ophelia, who came with "fantastic garlands" and "chanted snatches of old tunes" while she lay in the weeping brook.

Then follows a section using only low instruments of the orchestra, in pulsing overlying rhythms. This section has possibly been influenced by the composer's fascination with the sound of an Australian didjeridoo. and its use as a rhythm instrument.

After that, come trumpets in fanfares. These fanfares are garlanded by other instruments weaving the same notes, but again without direct repetition.

Most of the piece concerns part of the orchestra only, treated in groups of instruments within the same range. Very gradually the range expands or contracts, or progresses in a particular direction. It is only towards the end that the whole orchestra is playing and extending itself over its full range.

Work Details

Year: 1974

Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), tenor and bass saxophones (can be one player), 2 bassoons, contra-bassoon, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, strings.

Duration: 19 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Financed by a Special Projects Grant awarded by Commonwealth Assistance to Australian Composers, 1973

First performance: by West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Gerald Krug — 1 Nov 75. ABC Studios, Perth, WA

Performances of this work

Jan 83: BBC Studios, Manchester, UK. Featuring BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, John Hopkins.

1 Nov 75: ABC Studios, Perth, WA. Featuring West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Gerald Krug.

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