Fantasia supra Les Dames (2021)

Fantasia supra Les Dames

This quintet for AATTB is very loosely based on Guillaume de Machaut’s “Le Lay des Dames”.

The five sections, that follow each other without interruptions, develop melodic material from some of the twelve “strophes” of Machaut’s composition. Strophes 1 and 2 start by quoting literally the first couple of Machaut’s notes, while Strophes 3 and 5 are more based on the intervallic structure of old Billy’s melodies. Thus this is really a fantasia: it takes minimal cells of the original material and spins them into a longer variational form.

My idiom is of course nothing like Machaut’s, whose original is monophonic. But even his polyphonic works sound nothinglike this. Apart from the “double leading tone” into the final chord this piece uses a modern pan-tonal idiom. The ternary meter of the Lay here becomes a predominant 5/4 time signature.

Whereas much of my output is for rather large groups, usually spanning down to multiple Great or Conta basses, this piece uses only five players, with just one regular bass and should therefore be performable with more modest forces.

This piece was originally offered to my Patreon supporters, and is now for sale at Score Exchange.