Psalmus 150

Concert: 04/May/2014: Faculté de Musique de l’Université de Montréal – Salle Serge-Garant

Conductor: Tiphaine Legrand

– Ensemble Kô
– Chœur des Jeunes de la Faculté de Musique de l’Université de Montréal

Piano: Nicolas Ellis

Program note:

Psalmus 150, for 8-voice adult choir, 3-voice youth choir and organ/piano, was composed in 2013 during the master’s degree in Composition at the Université de Montréal (Canada).

The Gregorian chant of the Psalm 150, sung in the Paschal Vigil in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, is the basis of the composition, which has an ABA’ form.

The piece assembles modalism and linear dissonances, as well as Medieval sonority. The character is joyful and mysterious. Different textures and timbres are exploited. The organ/piano usually accompanies the choirs, except for some interludes and a solo after the word “organo”.

A solo child start the piece with the well-know Alleluia. Then, tenors and basses begin to develop the ideas, joined by sopranos and altos, all doing soft clusters. The youth choir comes back in a modal canon.

Part B starts with different voice combinations of the adult choir, exploiting the medieval parallel 5th and 8th and the clusters, as well as modal passages. Then, the youth choir leads the modal passage “Laudate” and is joined by the adult choir, that sings within two different layers. The choirs, then, alternate until the last part of B (“omnis spiritus laudet Dominus”). In the end of B, the Gloria Patri in sung, following the Liturgical tradition.

Part A’ starts with the solo Alleluia of a child, followed by a modulation on the adult choir combined with soft clusters. At the end, a tutti takes place, putting the main Alleluia melody in evidence. The piece finished with a joyful fortissimo.