Ritual for Magister Léonin
 

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I keep returning to ghosts, to those creators who I feel are in some way my ancestors.

This is the second piece I have dedicated to one such ghost – Léonin, the twelfth-century French master of two-voice organum.

The ritual in this piece is in the steady, determined meditation on a single object. With each paragraph, the light changes and there are new implications.

This obsessive working is also something I find myself returning to again and again – a need to focus in, to access the kind of concentration we all possessed as children.

There is palimpsest here, too, in a sense. The underlying, super-slow melody that unfolds across the piece a syllable at a time is a portion of the plainchant melody Viderunt Omnes – a plainchant upon which Léonin wrote organa. A shared technique and shared material.

Ultimately, I imagine this music as resonance. Resonance from sounds made long ago, lingering in the Akashic records.

Subtitle: Quintet # 5
Instrumentation: two mezzo-sopranos, clarinet, cello, piano
Duration: circa 8′
Date of composition: 2011
Commissioned by Ergodos for the Ergodos Musicians production All the Ends of the Earth.
First Performance: Ergodos Musicians (Michelle O’Rourke and Nora Ryan, mezzo-sopranos; Jonathan Sage, clarinet; Isabel Castellvi, cello; Isabelle O’Connell, piano; Garrett Sholdice, director), All the Ends of the Earth, 6 October  2011, Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, New York
Recording:
Score: Please email orders@ergodos.ie to obtain the latest score.