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In Ictu Oculi

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Kenneth Hesketh

Kenneth Hesketh

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Subtitle: Three Meditations for Wind Orchestra

The title translates from the Latin as In the blink of an eye.

General Info

Year: 2016
Duration: c. 17:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Cecilian Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Unknown   |   Score Only (print) - £29.95

Movements (played without pause)

1. Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt? (Where are those who were before us?)
2. Stele 1 (A marker slab or column decorated with figures or commemorative inscriptions, common in prehistory)
3. Ozymandian fallacy
4. Stele 11
5. Timor mortis conturbat me (the fear of death dismays me)
6. Hoc in memoriam mea avia


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
C Trumpet
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The phrase in ictu oculi is a Latin expression meaning in the blink of an eye. One source is from the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 15:52: "In momento, in ictu oculi, in novissima tuba:", translated in the KJV as "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:" where the Latin is itself a translation of the original Koine Greek phrase ἐν ῥιπῇ ὀφθαλμοῦ (en rhipēi ophthalmou).

The most notable use of the phrase in an English text is that by John Donne: which shall be found alive upon the earth, we say there shall be a sudden death, and a sudden resurrection; In raptu, in transitu, in ictu oculi. where Donne gives an English-Latin paraphrase on the original context in 1 Corinthians 15.

More than the original context of the phrase itself, the Latin may be better known as the title of a painting by Juan de Valdés Leal (4 May 1622 – 1690).

- Program Note from Wikipedia

In Ictu Oculi is part of a current cycle of works that have the idea of Momento Mori, or Vanitas and Memorial, at their centre. Such concepts however have long interested me and provide an underlying tension to many works in my output. This particular piece (the meaning of the title being "in the blink of an eye") is an extended meditation upon the transience of time and the simple fact that all things come to an end, be they cultures, individuals or civilizations. The notion of a journey is important in this work, and the formal architecture it employs uses metaphors of labyrinth (a single but convoluted through-route) and maze (a pathway with many branches, choices of path and dead-ends) in negotiating its musical structures.

- Program Note by composer

In Ictu Oculi (Three Meditations) was commissioned by Phillip Scott for the National Youth Wind Ensemble of Great Britain, who gave the first performance at the Royal College of Music on 9th April 2016.

Grateful thanks for a grant towards this commission is extended to the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust with further thanks for additional help to the Nanset Wind Orchestra, Norway, conductor Odd Terje Lysebo; the Hodgson Wind Ensemble, University of Georgia USA, conductor Cynthia Johnston Turner; and the Cornell Wind Symphony, USA, conductor James Spinazzola.

- Program Note by Tim Reynish


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • National Youth Wind Ensemble (Great Britain) (Phillip Scott, conductor) - 9 April 2016 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer