commentary to opus 68b

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Invocationes for soprano saxophone in b-flat and organ, op. 68b (1978/1995)

I. De profundis

II. In te domine speravi

III. Non confundar in aeternum beginning

 

Duration: 22 Minutes

Publisher: Schott Music ED 6814 ISMN: 979-0-001-07227-4
Saxophon solo part: ED 6814-01 / ISMN M-001-11489-9

I. II.III. Sax Part

Conventus Musicus CM 105

 

"De profundis", the first of the three "Invocations", is based on the chorale "Aus tiefer Not schrei' ich zu dir" (after the Psalm "From the depths I cry to you, oh Lord"). The organ introduction expresses the "De profundis" ("From the depths ") through a repeated descent from B-flat to A and a pedal-point on E as a trill. After fanfare-like, constantly accelerating tone repetitions, the solo instrument intones a motif formed out of the beginning of the chorale melody and lets this sound on as an echo before then continuing to freely weave the melody further. The organ passages then mount to increasingly high levels of virtuosity, after which the saxophone presents the complete chorale melody in free declamation, setting a very tranquil close with a double repetition of the three last notes and then joining with the organ in a constantly intensifying final section culminating in a triple forte with a brilliant tremolo (flutter-tonguing in the saxophone).
The next two "Invocations" are based on the the two final sections of the Te Deum. "In te Domine speravi" ("In you, Lord, have I hoped") starts with a recitation by the solo instrument, corresponding to text, on f-sharp. Following an echo-like repetition, the eight-note theme (quasi a setting of the text) enters espressivo, is developed and - symbolising musically the increasing hope - intensified, until the climax in fff brings the recitation to the note e, at which point the Invocatio with theme and recitation gradually fades away as if to nothing.
"Non confundar in aeternum" ("Do not let me be confounded for ever") is opened with the theme, forte and in half-notes, by the solo instrument alone. Subsequently, the organ contributes an ostinato figure in a manual and another in the pedals. The Invocatio leads into a large-scale cadenza, fading out in an echo. Something of the "De profundis" motif is to be heard again, its call for help answered by the "Non confundar in aeternum", resounding in unshakeable faith (ostinato accompaniment!), ebbing away then gradually in a triple piano.
In its original form, the work was conceived for trumpet and organ in 1978 as a commission for Freiburg Minster and received its first performance on September 5th of the same year on the occasion of the Catholic Convention. At the suggestion of the Canadian saxophonist Normand DesChênes, I adapted the work in 1995 for saxophone and organ.

Bertold Hummel

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