C.54 - "Chorus No.3 - Messiah"

Composed: ~January to April 2014

     The next of my choruses that followed my supposed ‘chorus’ structure of having a first chorus, followed by a second chorus, and then a final chorus that used material from the first chorus (and supposedly an accompanying hymn – but alas, the hymn is absent!)

     Where "C.28 - Chorus No.1" explored homophonic chordal movement and was general simple, and "C.29 - Chorus No.2" explored into counterpoint and two choirs, this third chorus delved into fugal and canonic experiments as well as further counterpoint over a continuously static cello line. This piece also returned to more traditional religious techniques, particularly through the use of plagal cadences which I used more frequently here than in the prior choruses.

     The earliest material I wrote for this piece was actually the ascending sequence seen at the end of the first chorus starting at b.80 (and again in the final chorus). I love this sequence, and still do as of writing these words. Yes, it is simple, but there is just enough interest that it elicits some form of joyful emotion, I can’t quite put my finger on it. Nevertheless, I built the rest of the composition surrounding this sequence.

     The first chorus explored the use of canon, albeit briefly, and the second chorus then went on to explore fugal counterpoint in the choirs. As per the previous chorus compositions, I repeat both choruses in a sort of German bar-form AAB (as to whether I was aware of that at the time is another mystery).

      The little text that does appear is my own original text, as you can tell from the waft of nearby Stinking Bishop, but I never did get around to adding words to the entire piece. This is the main reason there is no accompanying hymn (if I couldn’t finish the text for the main chorus, how on Earth would I be able to write text for a completely separate piece?)

      I recall that bars 95 – 96, with the dynamic build, were influenced from Haydn’s "Quoniam tu Solus" from his Nelson Mass, which is a piece I still admire for its counterpoint and fugal choral writing. Much to my amusement, I later discovered that the bass sequence I wrote starting in the 2nd half of b.80 was also used by Haydn in a sequence towards the end of "Quoniam tu Solus" in the alto part.

      On the whole, I do still enjoy this piece, regardless of its simplicity and that fact it is unfinished. That sequence, and the fugal play in the second chorus are things that I still find some pleasure in, and if anyone else does, that is an added bonus!

 

      (Also, to sopranos, I apologize for that final note.)

Reminiscence written on 17th July 2016

Last updated: 20th October 2018

© 2019 Jonathan Shaw