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à jamais 2

á jamais 2 is a work for an ensemble of historical and modern instruments. The expression of á jamais 2 takes the sentimental feeling and then overrides its sense in an expression that pushes upwards. It is a kind of transumption of tenderness. What I mean by this is that the first half plays on conventional structures of tenderness ie. disordering the trope of loss, but the second half contains this expression within a larger expression which moves beyond the structures of loss as if consuming them (refer to ‘Tendres Plaintes’, chapter 3).


One thing that is unusual about á jamais 2 is that it is really a fugue. Fugue offers a way to sound the same material in different ways such that one inversion of counterpoint may produce a contrasting expression to a different inversion of the same contrapuntal material. In other words, fugue offered a formal structure capable of supporting a representation of the mechanisms of transumption. I am not going to go into the specifics of the construction of the fugue, in part because it is tedious, and can in any case be deduced, but also because it is an expression of the piece that it sounds nothing like a fugue. In a certain way, then, it was in my interest to make it as structurally “tight” as possible to enhance this expression. An analytical approach, should it be of interest, would do well to consider the notational ramifications of sitting side-by-side historical and modern instruments, and the way in which this may invite dialogue with fugal conventions that may otherwise seem distant from a contemporary aesthetic. Indeed, á jamais 2 is inextricably tied up with the physical and notational histories of the ensemble, like á jamais 1 and as discussed at length with regard to the mixture of baroque and modern violins in 3 Dreams.

á jamais 2 was never intended to be “2”, and it is not a second movement to á jamais 1. Rather, á jamais 1 was a kind of preparatory exercise for the composition of á jamais 2.

Click the icon below the network to view the score (this will open a PDF in a new tab).

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