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Consonanze Stravaganti Cover Design


Consonanze Stravaganti-1981

(brass quintet)


Music by: Andrew Thomas
after: Giovanni Macque

Information through: Get a Business Card

Copyright © 1981

Giovanni Macque served in the court of Prince Fabrizio Gesualdo da Venosa. The prince was the father of Carlos Gesualdo, and both the son and Macque composed music sharing certain characteristics during the same period.

Most of Giovanni Macque's works are madrigals. From among the small number of his keyboard works I have chosen to adapt the Consonanze Stravaganti as a set of variations for brass quintet. The Consonanze Stravaganti is a short, but astonishing experiment in harmonic progressions. Its chromaticism rivals, or even surpasses that of Gesualdo, and its fresh charm, for twentieth century ears, lies both in its bold tonal shifts, and in its naive simplicity.

The keyboard work is in four voices which, for convenience, I have labeled soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Each variation, in addition to its overt musical content, contains one or more of these lines, stated either directly, or deviously. The structure of the music is as follows:

Variation 1: Theme plus Descant
Variation 2: Canons at unison, octave, and fifth (Alto Descant)
Variation 3: Fantasia on chords from Variation 2
Variation 4: Chase" Canons (Alto Descant)
Variation 5: Fantasia
Variation 6: Double Retrograde Canon
---(Soprano and Bass Descants)
Variation 7: Theme and Variations (from Alto Descant)
---Theme: Solo Trumpet
------Variation A: Augmented Retrograde Canon
------Variation B: Retrograde and Mirror Canon
------Variation C: "Fugetto"
------Variation D: "Chorale Prelude"
Variation 8: Dance

The composition was composed in 1981 and is dedicated to The American Brass Quintet.
-Andrew Thomas

Giovanni Macque (1584-1613)

Commission & premiere: The American Brass Quintet
Recorded: The American Brass Quintet. ‘American Visions’ Summit Records