Festina Lente

(1990) 10 min.

Three equal sustaining instruments.


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Festina Lente is a Latin term which I came across in a book by the late Italian novelist Italo Calvino entitled Six Memos for the Next Millenium. Calvino translates the term as "hurry slowly" and the piece attempts to capture the feeling of tension and urgency in that phrase by combining a rather frenetic rhythmic energy with a slow harmonic movement.

As the piece progresses the focus changes as to what the piece is 'about' from textural and rhythmic ideas to a harmonic and melodic ones. The work juxtaposes sections of music which were intuitively composed with those which were computer generated.

The work was commissioned by Lawrence Cherney through the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council.

Note to performers: The work exists in two transpositions and can be performed by most wind and string instruments. The version for instrument and tape requires the performer to prerecord two of the three parts. A click track tape is available from the composer to aid in doing this.

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