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Canticum Lunaris

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José Suñer-Oriola

José Suñer-Oriola

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General Info

Year: 2014
Duration: c. 16:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Tot per l'Aire
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Canticum Lunaris (2014) is the result of a commission requested of me by Ms. Isabel Liñán, who at the time was the president of the Unión Musical Santa María del Puig musical society in the town of El Puig, near Valencia, Spain. She requested a piece that her musical society’s band could perform at the Valencia Provincial Band Competition. The musical idea took root and began to develop in a manner similar to my second symphony, Venus de las Luces ("Venus of the Lights"), which is a symphony in two movements. I began with the idea of creating a piece of duality – a two-movement work based on the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. However, as the developmental process evolved it instead yielded a work much more extensive in instrumentation and duration called Canticum Lunaris.

Canticum Lunaris is a fifteen-minute work based on a theme with eight variations, one transition, and a coda. This work is structurally and motivically developed as a theme and variations; it begins its thematic structure with the presentation of a leitmotiv of I-VII-III over the secondary dominant of an inferred spatial tonality (a term used to refer to the basic identity cues of a tonality which do not behave as expected in the developmental process).

In the introductory phase, various alphanumeric combinations are created based on a symbiotic representation between the letters from the title of the work and an E-flat chromatic scale, both as rhythmic-melodic figures in the woodwinds, and as some of the chordal constructions in the brass. The variations that follow are constructed along the lines of the classic systems of musical development.

Introduction - Theme

This section of thirty-six measures is based on a unique three-note leitmotiv that is first presented in measure seven by a muted trumpet. This motive will serve as the basis for the structural and motivic variations, as well as the transition and the coda.

Variation I – Allegro

In contrast to the tempo and instrumentation of the introduction, Variation I is lighter and more chamber-like. Its variations of the leitmotiv are the basis for all of the following variations. The highlighted variations illustrate the result of a deformation of the I-VII-III motive.

Variation II – Poco meno mosso

In a conceptually similar fashion to its predecessor, Variation II has its soul in chamber music, but its tempo is more moderate as it searches for softer colors with its combinations of different instruments, interpreting similar motivic formations.

Variation III – Allegro

Exhibiting a totally different character, Variation III offers a more powerful concept via its instrumentation by groups, with the marimba and piano being the key elements, and where variations and retrograde treatments of the theme interact in various instrumental combinations of the motive. The transition (Moderato cantabile) is announced by a brass choir. The basses then begin a variation of the motive, and the English Horn similarly constructs its entrance on three variations of the same theme. These two appearances are preceded by a solo by the cello, which creates a colorful contrast in the lower register.

Variation IV – Allegro

Infused with rhythmic and melodic elements of the motive (the former by the percussion, the latter by the piano and tuba), serving as a basis for Variation VIII. The brass will later serve as the protagonists of the thematic variations.

Variation V – Lento

A series of motivic sequences is presented in the flutes and oboes, occasionally incorporating the main motive from the first movement of my Chamber Symphony No. 1.

Variation VI – Allegro

A change in key from D major to F minor heralds the change of this variation, where the rhythmic motive in the percussion generates a series of combinations of the main motive of this work, with the main theme from the first movement of the Chamber Symphony, and with a second leitmotiv beginning the measure before the beginning of Variation II in Flute 1 and piccolo.

Variation VII features a canon that begins with trombone I playing a variation of the motive, which is then passed along to trombone II and then progressively so on to the rest of the brass. It is then taken over by the oboe a third higher as an introduction to Variation VIII, which utilizes the theme from Variation IV in binary form. The Coda concludes as a sketching of various combinations of the main motive.

- Program Note by composer


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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