PROGRAMME NOTES

Withdrawn works


Jig-Saws (1988)

Commissioned by the East of England Orchestra with funds from East 
Midlands Arts and Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts. First performance at 
the Assembly Rooms, Derby, under Malcolm Nabarro, on 12 October 1988. 
Jig-saws, for three quintets, harp and percussion, arises directly from the original commission. The work uses two folk tunes, one from each of the 
regions involved: the Derby Ram and the Lincolnshire Poacher. The Derbyshire 
team is represented by the quintet on the left of the stage and the Lincolnshire 
team is on the right: G major versus A major. These traditional tunes are 
supplemented by three more which I remembered from or composed in my school days - a waltz in Bb major; a ballad in D major; and a music-hall number in Eb major.

The idea of Jig-saws comes from dealing with this material which, like a 
real puzzle, does not always fit. This makes an image of life itself so 
that, although Jig-saws has comedy, the ending is serious. The conflicts 
between the two opposing sides are represented stereophonica11y. The work's 
plan, and in a sense its plot, could be:
1. The harp introduces the chorale.
2. In a fast tempo over a beat the Derby and Lincoln teams exchange their 
tunes and begin to collide.

There are two variations of this section 
separated by two soft sections where the school tunes are mingled. The harp chorale, with glissandi, ushers in the contests where each 
team fields an individual - tuba versus tenor trombone; cello versus 
double bass; two clarinets; two violins and finally two piccoloso This violence is not a solution so the folk-tunes are presented as funeral 
marches simultaneously. The harp, as commentator, goes its own way and 
when the marches are over reaches a cadenza.

The three groups become miniature dance orchestras, turning all the 
work's themes into Charlestons.
A tuba solo, with harp, leads back to the chorale and a kind of unity - the jig-saw can be made to fit.
PD 


Concerto for Strings, Percussion and Electric Organ (1971)

This concerto was commissioned by Orchestra da Camera with Arts Council funds.

The work comes from similar involvements to the Organ Concerto: sketches for both come at the same time. This concerto contrasts a Dirge (my organ piece from 1963) and a reworked popular song from the 1930s, now unrecognisable with only its Eb major harmony left. The work’s use of an electric organ (a Philicorda without pedals) is uninteresting – a synthesiser might be used – but it all fails to cohere.
First performance given by Ivor Keys with Orchestra da Camera at the Art Gallery in Birmingham under Graham Treacher on 22 January 1972.

Hymns, Blues and Improvisations (1973)
String Quartet, piano and tape-playback

This work was commissioned by the University of Lancaster and first performed there with the Lancaster Ensemble and Jan Cap on 25 October 1973. It is one of several pieces involving tape-playback, although unlike Recorder Music or Surrealist Landscape the tape was not made by the performers.

Hymns, Rags and Blues is a long slow meditation where three different strands of music interact. The quartet plays several versions of a type of Victorian hymn-tune, written for the piece; the pianist plays blues versions of several hymns independently; and the tape is a kind of musique concrète improvised inside and outside a piano. There is no full score and each performance will be different.
The only interest in this work now is that it formed the basis of my American Trio (1985) as a second and more successful attempt to deal with this material. This aspect is discussed by Anna Perry in her BA (hons) Musicology dissertation at the University of Lancaster, 2009.

Vitalitas

The orchestration of the piano work now called Vitalitas Variation was made in 1959 and used at the Teatro del Bosque for the ballet by Gloria Contreras. Through inexperience the scoring is not competent. The work, like Copland’s Piano Variations, could make an orchestral score but this is not it.

© 2008-17 Peter Dickinson

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