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à jamais 1

à jamais 1 is a recomposition of Rameau’s ‘Tendre Amour’ from Les Indes galantes such that Rameau’s wonderful expressions appear no longer to be products of his counterpoint but the physical and notational realities of the instruments (I write about 'Tendre Amour' at length in 'Tendres Plaintes', chapter 3). Composed for violin, baroque violin, baroque flute, soprano, clarinet, baroque viola, cello, and barque bassoon, the à jamais ensemble is chosen to present a balance between old and new as well as encourage various smaller groups therein such as a string quartet of mixed histories. The notes themselves are essentially faithful to ‘Tendre Amour’ and it could be described as a kind of “tratteggio” (refer to “tessitura tratteggio and kreng”), though the technique is expanded dramatically. What I mean by this is that in à jamais 1 the “sharing” of phrases, and even individual notes must be justified by their physical gestures. This is woven with Rameau’s expressions such that the ravishing chord in bar 12, for example, takes its power from the open string of the viola, colouring its only true dissonance with a physical gesture. The expression becomes a product of the physical realities of the instruments; this is why I refer to à jamais 1 as a “recomposition” rather than an “orchestration”.

à jamais 1 began as an exercise; it was in the process of this recomposition that I first encountered what I would later learn was something Rameau referred to as a "chord of supposition" ('Tendres Plaintes', ch. 3), and latterly "tenderness" and its significance as a condition and as a way of listening, including its varied musical manifestations and the ways in which they shed light on the mechanisms of musical meaning in general. In the end I decided to keep à jamais 1, hoping its recomposition might express the same revelation it offered me.

à jamais 1 also plays on the notational games offered by the mixture of 415 and 440 Hz, first attempted in 3 Dreams, and discussed at length on its page. The score is and must be "transposing".

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

a jamais pdf
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