top of page

Stanley M. Hoffman, “0 Absalom,” TTBB, ECS Publishing Catalog No. 7.0696, 2016, 4 pages:

Settings of this emotionally charged text abound in the repertoire, and this addition successfully employs the sonorous richness that typifies many previous versions. A solo line (either section or single singer) introduces the piece with the contextualizing preface “When David heard …” The languorous, meandering melody carefully sets up linear tritone relationships at pivotal moments in quasi-recitative. This introduction is marked “Dirge 1” and establishes the formal organization. The familiar quotation of David (“O my son Absalom, would I had died instead of you.”) appears as a refrain for full chorus. The tritones of the opening solo reappear first in stark harmonies then as an arresting stack of two juxtaposed tritones. The careful preparation of these intervals avoids an aural interpretation as a French augmented-6th chord, although it is voiced appropriately as such within the key of the piece. Following the refrain, “Dirge 2” repeats the opening text this time in a four-part texture with overlapping entrances that flirt with canonic operations. At the culmination, the French 6th chord reappears, and it begins to take on a role as the signature harmony of the setting. A repeat of the refrain is indicated to follow, then “Dirge 3” sets the opening text in four-part homophony. A final repetition of the refrain caps the piece. …

1 view0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page