Chorales for James Tenney

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The American composer  and theorist James Tenney (1934-2006), in converstaion with my former teacher, the Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy, once described the harmonic series as “the only thing given to us by nature…except sound itself”. This piece, and much of my recent work, is a celebration of that reality; it “tightens” and “relaxes” according to re-contextualisations of the position of the fundamental frequency in a specific harmonic series. It is also a celebration of a tradition – a tradition in which Tenney represents an important recent link on the chain – of earnest involvement with harmony. The title (and form) of the work is a respectful reference to Tenney’s 1974 orchestral work, Chorales.

Sub-title: Quintet # 3
Instrumentation: clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano
Duration: circa 10′
Date of composition: 2010
Commissioned by Ergodos for the Ergodos Orchestra production Another Generation.
First Performance: Ergodos Orchestra (Jonathan Sage, clarinet; Ioana Petcu-Colan, violin; Cora Venus Lunny, viola; Kate Ellis, cello; Izumi Kimura, piano; Garrett Sholdice, director), Another Generation, Ergodos Festival MMX, 2 April 2010, Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Score: Please email to obtain the latest score.