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Sumer is Icumen In

for chamber orchestra with four solo violins

Year:  2007 Instrumentation:  Soloists from the front desks

Year:  2007
Instrumentation  Soloists from the front desks

Composer:   Anthony Young


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This piece was written at the the invitation of Peter Scholes who made a call for scores for the final Auckland Chamber Orchestra concert for 2007 on 25th November. The scores were to be variations on the old English tune, Sumer is icumen in (or Summer is acoming in). Six variations were submited and mine was the third played in performance.

The original tune was sung in canon, with a canonic ostinato underneath. For this variation I explored other forms of imitation, fragments of the original theme extended and highly decorated in the four solo violins, combining in a heterophonic texture. Throughout, the foreground of the soloists and the background of the rest of the strings merge and diverge, and the bass of the orchestra maintains an unbroken F pedal throughout, giving the piece a harmonic feeling of a sustained major chord.

Difficulty note

Soloist parts are advanced

Performance history

08 Jun 2008: Illumination