et in terra

3 voices, violin, cello, flute, trumpet, bass clarinet, piano.

This piece is inspired by the complex polyphonic styles to be found in the French-Cypriot repertory of the 14-15th century. I'm very fortunate to have in my possession a facsimile edition of the complete Torino Codex as it is known. Through the details of the scribes notation and handwriting, one feels a real closeness to the composition process of these pieces, the fact that these anonymous composers never used a score, but wrote straight into parts for the individual voices always impressed me. Also one can see where the pages were burned by fire at the turn of last century, or where the thinness of the paper reveals music from the opposite pages. It was especially this detail that gave me a lot of inspiration, as if the pages were a room and one could hear the sounds of the previous composition like an echo from a neighbouring space. I decided to use just one line from the Mass setting of the Gloria, of which there are many examples in the repertory, ‘ in terra pax..’ (and on earth peace). As I begun to write the piece in the beginning of April 2004 , this seemed a fitting text to use. I don't quote any of the music, but try to capture the spirit of the complex polyphony that was practiced in that era. As I composer I'm fascinated by combining extreme differences of time perceptions and in my electronic work especially of changing space perceptions, so it is with deep curiosity that I am attracted to the old contrapuntal techniques used in these motets and masses.

et in terra is commissioned by the Pharos Trust for the London Sinfonietta on the occasion of their concert in Nicosia on the 6th May 2004.

performance history

  • 6 May 2004; Premiered by London Sinfonietta , Nicosia, Cyprus.