PROGRAMME NOTES

Paraphrase II

Piano (1967)

This 15-minute piece was written for John McCabe, who gave the first performance at the Barber Institute, University of Birmingham, on 3 December 1968. The first broadcast was given by Malcolm Troup on 1 September 1971. Paraphrase II: Mark is based on one of two motets for ATB choir – the other is ‘John’, the basis of the organ work - which use poems Thomas Blackburn (1916-1977) wrote for me when we both taught at the College of St Mark and St John then located in Chelsea.

The Paraphrase pieces are not traditional variations, although themes and rhythms from the motets appear constantly. The sections of Paraphrase II: Mark are:
1. A declamatory exposition, with the main material, the second theme quietly in the centre;
2. A two-part invention based on the main theme with the lower part in augmentation;
3. An adagio with climaxes freely developed from the main theme;
4. The main theme (inverted) with two variations, increasingly complex;
5. A gentle capriccio sing the second theme in retrograde;
6. A static waltz (homage to Erik Satie) based on the main theme;
7. A toccata leading to a grandiose return of the opening declamations followed by the simplest version, softly, of the motet’s main theme in canon over a pedal.

PD

© 2008-17 Peter Dickinson

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