World Premier: July 8th, 2017 - Canterbury, Kent
Finalist for the Caritas International Young Composer Competition
Before the Pardoner begins his tale, he quotes the Latin phrase “radix malorum est cupiditas,” or, “greed is the root of evil.” As the piece presents a narrative surrounding this Latin text, the insertion and evolution of the quote after each stanza has a two-fold purpose: it continually reminds the listener of its poignancy, and it also grows in complexity in a way that mirrors our comprehension of the text.
The 6/8 rendering of the narrative draws upon the swashbuckling nature and frivolity of youth; as if the notion to “conquer death” is actually feasible. Open fifth planing in the tenor and bass voices elicits aspects of medieval modality, harkening back to Chaucer’s dates in the 14th Century.
As each presentation of the Latin text grows, so does its internal thematic movement and use of suspensions. The final statement of this theme is the most contemplative, a reflection on the inevitability that death has won yet again. This final statement of 4-3 suspensions and the ambiguous ending on an open fifth denies a specific conclusion – portraying the cyclical nature of folly and fate.