Hommage à Purcell (2011) by Patricia Alessandrini
for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and electronics
US premiere

Hommage à Purcell is a 'reading' of the Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary by Henry Purcell, taking it out of its most commonly-known historical context: the solemnity of a royal funeral for a benefactor of Purcell. Part of this music was in fact composed prior to this occasion, for the play The Libertine of Thomas Shadwell, known for its macabre humour. This same music was employed in a similar manner by Stanley Kubrick in A Clockwork Orange in a synthesised arrangement by Wendy Carlos.

This 're-reading' integrates the text set by Purcell into the instrumental material through the intervention of the electronics. The original text consists of the Anglican funeral rite, derived from the book of Job, an episode of the Bible of an extreme violence and suffering. he quotation of Job was eliminated from the official liturgy of the English Church in 1965, a sign of modern discomfiture in the face of suffering.

Man that is born of a woman
hath but a short time to live,
and is full of misery.
He cometh up, and is cut down,
like a flow'r;
he fleeth as it were a shadow,
and ne'er continueth, in one stay.

Job 14, Darby

— P. A.    

[from program for February 11, 2019 concert]