Cum martelli incrudena (after 13th century anon) (1987)

Arrangement of 13th century anonymous for elastic scoring (2 clarinets or trumpets in Bb, guitar or harpsichord or piano, vibraphone or marimba or glockenspiel, violin or viola, cello)

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.

Programme note

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.


Chamber music