Dream-Tombeau: Crucifixus (2003)
Duration: 22 min.
Dedication: for Gordon Rumson
Commission: Commissioned for Gordon Rumson
Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing
Dream-Tombeau: Crucifixus (2003) for piano was written for and is dedicated to Canadian pianist, composer, and researcher Gordon Rumson. I have admired Gordon’s playing, writing, and general musical understanding for some time and wished to write an extended musical work for him. This piece was inspired specifically by his way of playing the piano and his musical insights. The work unfolds over a long duration – with a slow pace throughout. The basic material for the work consists of a series of musical objects: 1) a 12-note set; 2) a sequence of chords in an ‘extended’ tonality; 3) and a brief quotation from the motet Jubilate Deo by the Renaissance composer Orlande de Lassus (c. 1532-1594). This work takes its external inspiration from the Crucifixion, a key element and event in the Christian faith. The reflective character of the piece imagines the time that Jesus was in the tomb – between his death and his impending resurrection. There is an element of “stopped time” – in that the full aspects of what transpired were truly beyond human comprehension. The musical material can be viewed as representational objects as well. The 12-note set represents human experience and earthly existence; the chordal sequence represents the innate human longing for the eternal and the beyond, and the Lassus quotation represents the revelation and experience of the divine here on earth. The “dream” aspect of the title of this piece is shown in the way the material is developed and presented. The material unfolds slowly, and the development of it transpires over an extended period of time. The development is subtle – it can be seen in the interaction and contrasts of the different objects of the work. There is an audible trajectory to the work, but one must listen with the large scale timeframe in mind.