Though the ideas and inspiration that feed into any new composition are partly subconscious, there are also certain images that predominate and provide the known parameters of a piece. In the case of Dislocated Chorales, I was pretty sure about a number of things before starting work. First of these was the fact that in the manner of Bach’s The Art of Fugue and several previous distinguished COMA commissions, the instrumental line-up was going to be unspecified. This was not just an obvious practical consideration. For any composer, laying aside issues of timbre to concentrate on pitches and rhythms makes for a fascinating challenge. There was also a more personal element to the composition, one that reflected my tremendous excitement on visiting Cologne Cathedral last year for the first time. This is a building that appears almost as much a work of nature as of the hand of man. Somehow, it seemed an architectural encapsulation of many of the things that are important to me in music, not just technically in terms of construction, but also in spirit, and in the relationship of the old cathedral to the many post-war buildings around it. A further layer of stimulus was the music of Bach. The dislocated chorale harmonisations that jostle together in violent cross-rhythms in a large proportion of my new piece are intended as a tribute to the great master in the 250th anniversary year of his death.
First Performance: Friday 28 July 2000, CoMA Summer School 2000, Bretton Hall
There are 8 flexibly instrumented parts, each of which is playable on a variety of instruments. The eight parts are divided into two groups of four parts, which play as a unit. One section requires players to make percussive noises with their instruments, such as key-clicks
COMA with funding from Yorkshire Arts