ANTIPHONIALE for band is a monothematic work in which all material is derived from the motivic statement by the antiphonal solo trumpets in the second half of the composition. The work consists of two strongly contrasting sections:
The first section, predominantly slow, has the outline of an a-b-a form, yet structurally it has a continuous flow of thematic and textural elements, rather like a musical stream of consciousness revolving around a central subject. There is a constant tension and urgency, a search for a definitive formulation of an ever-present but not clearly defined musical thought. Of vital importance are tonal clusters resulting from a vertical “freezing up” of horizontal thematic elements.
The fast second section achieves the object of the search – a strongly defined melodic theme. The antiphonal brass sextet, stating this theme, carries on a dialogue with the band’s commentaries upon the theme.
The two contrasting sections, representing seemingly unrelated styles, are welded together in logical sequence of search and discovery.
ANTIPHONALE was commissioned by the North Hills High School Band, Pittsburgh; Warren S. Mercer, Jr., Director