Cantec Tesute

for chamber orchestra

Emma-Ruth Richards

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for chamber orchestra

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Composer Emma-Ruth Richards
Year of Composition 2013
Duration ca.6'

fl/picc, ob, cl, bsn/cbsn, hn, tpt, perc, hp, pf, strings (

Forces fl/picc, ob, cl, bsn/cbsn, hn, tpt, perc, hp, pf, strings (
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-err1ct1


The structural design of Cantec Tesute (the literal translation being ‘woven song’ in Romanian) is based on a particular dead tree on the marshes at Aldeburgh. Even though the tree is a decaying object it still portrays movement and direction through the angles and woven lines between the branches. Cantec Tesute is built from instrumental lines being woven around two tutti, vertical, central statements in a refrain-like way. Each of the two vertical statements are linked to the ‘ground’ by a low sustained note on the piano (representative of the trunk); the image of the trunk embedding itself into the depths of the ground brings the ground and the space around it into the structure itself. In working this way I was able to deal with the idea of space being a palpable material. I wanted to use the extreme registers and resonance of the instruments, notably the harp and piano, to create an ‘aural tunnel’ where the clarity of this space is enhanced by the doubling of octaves between instruments. The ‘space’ is gradually ‘inhabited’, first by a violin solo that leads into a solo for bassoon, and secondly by short repeating rhythmic patterns on pizzicato strings, woodblock and trumpet that punctuate the space and replicate the sound of construction; that is the construction of the space – as if a craftsman was hammering or chiselling away at a marble pillar.

First performed on 20 June 2014, Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, Aldeburgh Festival 2014 by the Britten-Pears Ensemble.