VI Laudate (Organ)
Chant VI: Laudate In a performance of the complete sequence of Chants, a solo alto intonation may introduce Chant VI; the single word of text – 'Laudate' (praise) gives an indication of the mood and content of the piece. Both the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde are again used as points of departure for the appropriately marked ecstatico outbursts which punctuate its opening moments.
Whilst Chant VI is concerned in part with resolving the tensions between human desire and spiritual purity explored in Chant V, the goal of achieving serenity or transcendence beyond the earthly realm is of even greater importance for Lewis. Laudate seeks out that serenity through the act of praise, although Lewis is careful not be too explicit about exactly who or what we are praising. The arresting opening, thrusting ever upwards, is answered by rhythmically fractured pulsing and the ecstatically Wagnerian chords already remarked. Oases of tranquillity emerge as anchor points, but the two principal means of advancing the musical argument – the gradual piling up of the notes of massive chords, presented staccato and in irregular rhythms, and contrasting plainchant phrases heard alternately on solo flute and reed with soft mixture – are only heard after these opening fragments have been tossed around.
Note and biography © Dr David Jones, RNCM
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