Hora de la Clerc

for seven players

Emma-Ruth Richards

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for seven players

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Composer Emma-Ruth Richards
Year of Composition 2011
Duration ca.5'
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-err1hdlc1


Hora de la Cerc is closely developed with elements of an anonymous Romanian folk song: Hora Spoitorilor. Hora is a type of circle (cerc) dance, traditionally danced in Romania where the dancers hold each other’s hands and the circle spins, usually counter clockwise, as each participant follows a sequence of steps.

There are several examples where the folk song appears in full in this piece but it is mainly the grace note idea of the folk theme that serves as a signpost within the complex and busy framework; at times it fractures into minute decorative figures that repeat, circle around, or embed into a melodic line and at other times it is left bare. Whilst weaving these small details into the fabric of the piece doesn’t necessarily have a definitive musical consequence (it doesn’t grow, develop or change) it is a compositional device that creates a sense of interiority and fluidity in the journey much like the spinning circle dancers.

The idea that simplified forms and saturated, repetitive colours could project a mood and establish a structure within the work of art without having to be true to the natural world led to me to consider Post-Impressionist painters such as Matisse. The circle of figures in Matisse’s Dance 1 express light pleasure and joy despite the inherent flatness of the canvas; within that pictorial space, each element plays a specific role. The immediate visual impression of the work is strong and unified and this is what I have attempted to capture in my writing by using the rhythmic quality of the folk song, strong colours, expressive lines and repetition.