Jonathan Nangle Then Falls thy Shadow programme note

Jonathan Nangle Then falls thy Shadow for chamber ensemble and random shuffle playback system (2010) [5'] World premiere of a new arrangement


The title of the piece is a line from the poem Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae by Ernest Dowson (1867 - 1900).

The work was inspired by the play of light and shadow. I wanted to write a piece that in some way captured the visual distortions of shadows cast on the landscape. While the scene remains the same the fall of light and shadow transforms the perspective from one viewing to the next. To achieve this I use an ever-shifting background of shuffling harmonies. A sequence of chords were pre-recorded by the ensemble and these playback in a random order so that one never quite knows which one will play next the goal of which is to create a weaving, indeterminate tapestry of oscillating harmonies that float out in a dislocated, shadow like manner from within and around the live ensemble.

Then Falls thy Shadow was originally a choral piece, commissioned by David Bremner and Elizabeth Hilliard for the Béal Festival of Music and Text 2010 and the original used the following text, taken from the title of Dowson's poem, Non Sum Qualis Eram (I am not now as once I was).

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