La Deploration (2013)

for violin, 'cello, clarinet
By Douglas Boyce

“La Deploration is written as a memorial to Robert Suderburg, my first teacher in composition, and in what it is to lead a life of composing. The work draws its material from three sources: Josquin’s motet Nymphes de bois (La d├ęploration de la mort de Johannes Ockeghem); Bob’s own Chamber Music III: Night Set for trombone and piano; and from a soggetto cavato on Bob’s own name. This term refers to the Renaissance technique of ‘carving subjects’ from the sounds and letters of a person’s name. My system of mappings derives from Ravel’s refinement of the system described by Zarlino; each letter of the alphabet ‘maps’ on to one of the 12 pitches, producing a more chromatic fundamental set than either Ravel’s or Zarlino’s system. This chromatic material sits in opposition to the modal material derived from the Josquin, and the static, blues inflected material of Night Set. The ensemble is distributed around the performance space, with the clarinet changing positions and roles over the course of the piece. It is a tribute to Bob’s music, but more, I hope, to his teaching; acknowledging his love of collage and reference and (mis)appropriation, as well as his theatrical sense of space seems a fitting way to remember his presence through his absence.”

Other works by Douglas Boyce:
“Once when father (George Ives) was asked: 'How can you stand it to hear old John Bell (who was the best stonemason in town) bellow off-key the way he does at camp-meetings?' his answer was: 'Old John is a supreme musician. Look into his face and hear the music of the ages. Don't pay too much attention to the sounds. If you do, you may miss the music. You won't get a heroic ride to Heaven on pretty little sounds!'”
--Charles Ives