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When planning his orchestra piece Tiento del primer tono y batalle imperial, Halffter’s imagination was fired by the colourfulness and equivoque of a word derived from the verb tentar (= to feel, to touch with the fingers); it is dedicated to Paul Sacher (“… a musical gift for Paul Sacher on his 80th birthday”). Halffter’s composition refers directly to two precisely written works from the repertoire of early Spanish organ music: one of the many tiento compositions written by Antonio de Cabezón (circa 1510-1566; he was blind from birth – the bishops and the emperor availed themselves of his services) and the Batalla y Imperial by the Valencian cathedral organist Juan Bautista Cabanillos (1644-1712), who employed the characteristic “Spanish Trumpets” (projecting horizontally from the front of the organ) most effectively (Ballata, Imperial: rows of 8-foot, 16-foot and 32-foot pipes). However, Halffter does not at all restrict himself to quotation and orchestration for large symphonic forces; his personal language dominates in virtuosic interpolations and parallel layers. Furthermore, he honours the genius loci of the venue where the piece premiered; in the first section (mm. 57-58), the strings play all the letters of the dedicatee’s name which can be musically set, whereas in the turbulent Batalla Imperial the Basel Drums (positioned in a circle around the orchestra) play their dominant fortissimo rhythm.

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Richard Strauss

Morgen! (Tomorrow!)

for high voice and orchestra

Richard Strauss found in the soprano Pauline de Ahna not only a lifelong companion and muse but also a perfect interpreter of his songs. From the early years of their marriage dates Morgen!, composed some months before which is contained in the op. 27 (1894). The cycle consists of four songs (Ruhe meine Seele, Cäcilie, Heimliche Aufforderung and Morgen!) which Strauss wrote as a wedding present for Pauline, whom he married on September 10, 1894 in Marquatschein. The songs were composed initially for voice and piano, but 1897 Strauss orchestrated them for her to perform at the concerts he conducted. Morgen!John Henry Mackay, 1864–1933Engl. translation: William Mann Und morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinenUnd auf dem Wege, den ich gehen werde,Wird uns, die Glücklichen, sie wieder einen,Inmitten dieser sonnenatmenden Erde … Und zu dem Strand, dem weiten, wogenblauen,Werden wir still und langsam niedersteigen,Stumm werden wir uns in die Augen schauen,Und auf uns sinkt des Glückes stummes Schweigen ... Tomorrow! And tomorrow the sun will shine again,And on the path that I shall takeIt will unite us, lucky ones, againAmid this same sun-breathing earth.  And to the beach, broad and blue-waved,We shall climb down quiet and slow;Speechless we shall gaze each in the other’s eyes,And the speechless silence of happiness will fall upon us …

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Arvo Pärt

Summa

for mixed choir or soloists (SATB) a cappella

“I have developed a highly formalised compositional system, which I have been using to write my music for twenty years. Summa is the most strict and enigmatic work in this series”, said Arvo Pärt in 1994. The neutral title itself embodies the essence of the content as the work is based on the text of the Latin Credo. The great simplicity of the piece masks its complexity. The underlying rules ensure that on the surface a cycle of continuous change is created while the deep structure possesses an order of stillness. Originally Pärt composed Summa for choir, yet he later created various arrangements.

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