wenhaston doom (2012)
wenhaston doom for 8 trombones: [1 alto trombone, 5 tenore trombones, 2 bass trombones] duration: circa 8 minutes
Dedicated to Gordon Crosse
About this score:
No conductor is needed to perform this work.
The instrumentalists play independently of each other. Music is cued to begin only, with no subsequent ‘fixed’ synchronisation between the parts. All heard ‘synchronisations’ will be incidental, arising spontaneously through performance. Whilst the relationship of each instrument is flexibly placed against its neighbour, care has been taken to calculate potential outcomes of coincidence and to this end it is vital that metronome markings are adhered to as accurately as possible.
The material is created from eight (almost imitative) canonic lines, some in different transpositions. Again, no exact synchronisation is intended but players should ‘follow’ each other as closely as possible to approximately maintain the displacement of the instruments consequent of their starting order.
Having said the above, there is no definitive or ‘correct’ performance of this piece. Each performance will be unique; a variant of the possibilities held within the musical material and the realities of individual performers playing together and responding to the notation and each other as an ensemble. To further de-stabilise and elongate these canonic relationships, ‘felt’ pauses and mute-changes apply to each individual part.
I have produced a score that is a compromise between displaying all the musical material whilst avoiding the innumerable complexities of trying to notate each part in vertical alignment as represented in real time. The approach I have taken feels further justified as attempting to accurately pin-down the vertical alignment of the parts would go against the ethos of flexibility I have so carefully calculated in the music. This score is an approximation of vertical alignment and should not be read as a literal representation of what will be heard.
Individual parts are conveniently bared to aid performance. These barings are not illustrated in the score. Rehearsal markings appear only in the parts and cannot be used in reference to the score or other player’s positions at any point in time.
Doom: A painting, usually above the chancel arch, or on a tympanum within it, which shows the last judgement. Christ in his majesty oversees the weighing of souls, who are led away to heaven (north) or to hell (south). Sometimes, the painting extends on to the north and south walls of the nave. Probably all churches had them, and Suffolk has many examples of varying quality. The best examples are Wenhaston (on a tympanum), North Cove (on the chancel wall), Bacton, Cowlinge, Stanningfield and Wissington. The one at Cowlinge is particularly unusual, since it shows a rare survival of Mary interceding on behalf of sinners – she tips the balance of the scales with a long pole.