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"Canticle 3" was commissioned as part of a projected 'University Commissions' series in the early 1980s. The plan was for each of the then four universities with Music departments, to commission a new piece of music each year. The scoring would be set, and each composer would write for an instrument or group of instruments from a set brief. For the 1982 set of pieces, the scoring was drawn from voice, flute and piano. The other composers involved that year were John Emeleus (voice and piano), Chris Cree Brown (solo voice) and Mark Langford (voice and flute). I was fortunate to be allocated the full ensemble.
The text of "Canticle 3" is a brief Spanish fragment:
Cerco tiene la luna | The moon has a halo
Mi amor ha muerto | My love has died
Musically the work exemplifies my interest, at the time, in the music of George Crumb. The piece uses a number of typical "Crumb techniques" and the original score layout and notation is also somewhat in the style of his scores. Much of the piece presents fragments of text and vowel sounds, with the full text only being sung towards the end of the work. The music is generally quite static, with a simple tonal resolution towards the end of the work.
Commissioned by the University of Auckland