No. 06 Chant Ascendant (1995)
Commissioned by: Nieuw Ensemble and Netherlands Fund for the Creation of Music

Info/Program Note:
Chant Ascendant is a very extreme piece, written on a text by the French poet Jacques Prévert, in which two sopranos frantically rattle off an ascending 'shopping list' of articles at turbo-speed. The 141 page score was set for the unlikely combination of the usually delicate Nieuw Ensemble, the two sopranos and a battery of up to ten Timpani. The work is part of a small cycle of pieces I wrote between 1994 and 1995, for sopranos and different instrumental setups, which also include the works Chant Negatif and Chant Descendant and are all set to texts by Prévert.
Like Comfort, for Orchestra six years later, Chant Ascendant also proved to be a highly contested piece, with fierce sides being taken in various papers - something I can readily understand in retrospect. An unfortunate side-effect of the piece was moreover that the soprano part turned out to be so extreme that it probably sped up the sudden, untimely death of the original soprano Ingrid Ade Jesemann, whose very last concert consisted of the heroic feat of performing this work. The vocal part was later rescored for two sopranos, which proved a good deal more manageable.

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Score can be obtained through MCN Amsterdam