Opus 305

Tropes and Collects (2001)

for Contrabass

Stephen Gilewski, contrabass

Duration: 15 min.

Dedication: for Stephen Gilewski

Commission: Commissioned for Stephen Gilewski

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing

Performance materials available from the publisher.

Tropes and Collects (2001) for solo contrabass was written for and is dedicated to Stephen Gilewski. The work was written with the support of a grant from the Broeker Fund for New Music.

The work is inspired by two ideas from sacred music—firstly from the idea of “troping” (adding new music to existing music, or using existing music as the basis for further explorations) from Medieval music (especially plainchant), secondly from the “collects”, the short prayers of the church.

The work opens with a processional based on the interval of a perfect fourth—this interval and the relationships of different fourths serves as a significant element throughout all the movements.

Three “collects” then alternate with two “tropes.” The collects are freely-composed, based on material from the plainchants of the trope movements. The three collects are contrasting in character—the first is flexible and searching; the second, sustained and meditative; the third, an exuberant gigue.

The two “tropes” are settings of actual plainchants from the Liber Usualis: the first an introit; the second a gradual. They use the idea of troping in its original sense: in each case, the plainchant is modified and expanded within its own context.

The closing movement is a recessional, a reverse of the music from the processional.