Cum martelli incrudena (after 13th century anon) (1987)

for elastic scoring (2 clarinets or trumpets in Bb, guitar or harpsichord or piano, vibraphone or marimba or glockenspiel, violin or viola, cello)

Arrangement of 13th century anonymous
Bardic Edition Score and Parts BDE 779
Duration: 2'00"


First performance: Wednesday 3 May 1989; United Kingdom; London New Musicperformance details.

Programme note

Cum martelli incrudena (With hammer and anvil) is a thirteenth-century Italian ballad for three voices, in which a scale rising from the first to the seventh degree is gradually built up and then broken down over a considerable number of bars, by the systematic addition and subtraction of pitches, making it a kind of minimalist prototype. I arranged Cum martelli incrudena using Percy Grainger's principle of "elastic scoring", and thus making performance possible by a fairly wide range of instruments. I dedicated it to Barry Peter Ould to mark the founding of Bardic Edition, with whom I had just signed a publishing agreement. It received its first performance on 3 May 1989 in the Purcell Room, London, by London New Music.