Kenneth Girard

"ASCENDANCE" for String Orchestra, Chamber String Orchestra, or String Quintet, Op. 18 (1996)

InstrumentationVln. I, Vln. II, Vla, Vlc. CBs.
Lengthc. 11 mins.
DifficultyModerate to advanced: could be performed by a high quality community, conservatory/university, or professional/semi-professional orchestra, chamber orchestra, or quintet.
CommentsThe conception of the work is such that it may be performed by any one of the ensembles stated in the title (each one provides a different view of the piece relative to the commensurate increase/decrease of performers -- from the austere and lean clarity of the string quintet to the more robust richness of a full string orchestra). ?ASCENDANCE? is primarily a five-voice polyphonic structure often resembling the texture of a Renaissance motet, though the language of the piece is free-pantonality. The piece begins softly with a single line followed by the entries of the remaining voices. As the work continues, complexity increases and the degree of intensity ebbs and flows as the music moves through numerous climactic moments. In the latter part of the piece, various non-polyphonic textures intrude, disrupting the motet-like quality. The polyphony, however, reasserts itself and culminates in a fff climax, followed by a soft, slowly ascending chord that diminishes to silence. There is a certain elemental sense of power and inevitability in the piece which its title aptly describes.
Sourcesscores and parts are available from:
Ascendancy Publishing
273 Renfrew Street
Arlington, MA 02174-7348
tel./fax.: 617.641.4460
HistoryThe piece has not yet been premiered. It was begun in May of 1996 while my wife and I were staying with friends at their lovely small villa on a mountainside in Malcesine, Italy overlooking the beautiful Lago di Garda, a forty mile long lake in the Italian Alps. The area was so beautiful and the atmosphere so uplifting that the piece began as a spontaneous response to all that we were experiencing. I continued work on the piece at various times throughout the year and completed it at the end of December, 1996.
ContributorKenneth Girard, composer.

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