Publisher: Bardic Edition
Score and Parts BDE 779
Duration: 2 minutes
First performance: Wednesday 3 May 1989; Purcell Room, London, United Kingdom; London New Music.
Cum martelli incrudena (With hammer and anvil) is a thirteenth-century Italian ballad for three voices, in which a scale rising from the first to the seventh degree is gradually built up and then broken down over a considerable number of bars, by the systematic addition and subtraction of pitches, making it a kind of minimalist prototype. I arranged Cum martelli incrudena using Percy Grainger’s principle of “elastic scoring”, and thus making performance possible by a fairly wide range of instruments. I dedicated it to Barry Peter Ould to mark the founding of Bardic Edition, with whom I had just signed a publishing agreement. It received its first performance on 3 May 1989 in the Purcell Room, London, by London New Music.