Howard Skempton Lento (1991) [13']

Programme Note

Lento owes much of its character to its original context; to the elevating proximity of Wagner's prelude to Parsifal, with which it was preceded at its first performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall in March 1991. Lento is monolithic, major and minor triads generate a sequence of processionals. The tempo is more or less constant. It uses the same orchestral forces as the Wagner, though deployment is radically different. Most of Lento is scored for strings only. A central episode turns the spotlight on the trombones and the bassoons. Otherwise, woodwind, brass and timpani serve primarily to lend weight to restatements of the two principal subjects. The first subject is repeated three times and the second subject once only. There are four episodes or interludes. Respect for the 'grain' is the guiding principle.

© Howard Skempton

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