Peter Maxwell Davies - Antechrist (1967)

Recorded Live on 4th October 2014 at Hallé St. Peter's, Ancoats, Manchester.

The performance begins after a spoken introduction from Max lasting 5 minutes.

Psappha Ensemble conducted by Stephen Barlow
Conrad Marshall flute
Dov Goldberg clarinet
Tim Williams percussion
Liz Gilliver percussion
David Lewis percussion
Benedict Holland violin
Paul Grennan cello
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Peter Maxwell Davies (born 1934)
Antechrist (1967)

Antechrist in some formal respects resembles a concert overture, and stems not only from the fifteenth-century woodcut blocks Traicte de l'advenement de l'Antechrist and Entchrist, but also musically and more abstractly from my opera, Taverner, in which the medieval Antichrist concept, rather than the more literal and familiar figure under that name in I John 2 and II John 7, plays a significant part.

The piece starts with a straightforward rendering of the thirteenth-century motet Deo confitemini-Domino, which is then broken up and superimposed on related plainsong fragments, which both musically and with regard to the related implied texts, turns the sense of the motet inside out. The compositional techniques employed relate more clearly than in any previous work of mine to late medieval techniques, particularly with regard to rhythmic mode and cantus decoration. The listener will readily perceive two extended 'straight' references to the opening motet which interrupt the otherwise continuous transformation process: in the first, one of its line is worked into canons by retrogradation and inversion simultaneously, at intervals determined by the harmonic sense; and in the second, at the end of the work, it is worked into a double mensural canon.
 
 
 
 

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