Edward Caine, Composer

Conference in Huddersfield

Sat, 25th Apr 2009 10.00am
Centre for Research in New Music, University of Huddersfield

Nothing new? Understanding newness in medieval and contemporary music

25-26 April 2009
Plainsong and Medieval Music Society
Centre for Research in New Music
University of Huddersfield


The use of found material in Sciarrino's Lucie mie traditrici and my own Madrigali in Twelve Parts for Three Trombones

By Edward Caine


"Salvatore Sciarrino's chamber opera Luci mie traditrici (1998) is based around a play by Giacinto Andrea Cicognini(1606-1650) in turn based on the turbulent life of Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613), who infamously murdered his wife and her lover. Threaded through the opera as three intermezzi are a series of variations on a chanson, "C'est devenu ce be oeil" by Claude le Jeune (1530-1600), in its original harmonization for three voices. The treatment of the three variations shows a marked shift toward emphasizing sonority as an integral part of the musical structure, as opposed to treatment of pitch. The intermezzos enhance the plot, giving the impression of returning to the same music, each time "marked by the wounds of time" (Sciarrino).

This paper explores the methods and reasoning behind the construction of the intermezzi and their use of "found" material in relation to the le Jeune. I argue that such use of found material and structural sonority is an emerging trend in contemporary music. My own piece Madrigali in Twelve Parts for Three Trombones also explores this issue and is based on the popular Renaissance folk tune, "Une jeune Fillette", which I came across in a set of Fantasies by Eustache du Caurroy (1549-1609). This paper will explore how I used the found material to structure pitch, and yet sonority and "extended" technique remain the key structuring points of the piece."

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