Ian Stewart


In Nomine

Saxophone Quartet (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone)
(7 minutes 20 seconds)
Commissioned by Adrian Sullivan with the dedication - "For Heather, post Transplant ... Again"

First performance: Saturday, 17th September 2011
St. James The Less, Hadleigh
Swynford Saxophone Quartet

In Nomine

Flotilla (live recording)

Programme notes:
The Benedictus section of John Taverner's Gloria Tibi Trinitas mass was frequently played by consorts, giving rise to a specifically English style of cantus firmus instrumental composition. This style of composition was particularly prevalent during the 16th and 17th centuries, for both consorts and keyboard, and there was a revival of this type of composition in the 20th century. The name "In Nomine" derives from the phrase "in nomine Domini" which begins the Benedictus section of Taverner's mass.

This saxophone work is based on the same Gloria Tibi Trinitas plainchant and the central section has the tenor saxophone playing the notes of the plainchant in minims, exactly as in the Taverner original. A shortened version of this cantus firmus is also played near the end of the piece. The themes of the other sections make constant use of the melodic shape of this plainchant.

When working with electronic instruments I always liked the effect of digital delays, where sound is repeated several times electronically, often building sparkling textures through such a simple means. In this work such an effect is produced acoustically with the saxophones often playing the same phrase half a beat apart.