Vic Hoyland

19: Token

Endymion: Sound Census

My intention is to be able to compose in a way, which can connect the simplest of materials – say the pentatonic - to the most complex and to integrate the one within the other so that, at any moment, the music can veer toward tonal/modal elements, whole tone, octatonic as well as the fully chromatic.

Messiaen’s way was to juxtapose differences; I’m trying to relate and integrate differences. This could be considered an approach that is closer to Debussy’s mode of operation – always fluid, always in flux.

Ever since I employed Debussy’s “Syrinx” inside my “Ariel” and realised that in just 34 bars he covered his entire chromatic range, from middle C up to F Flat (I think, from memory, that that is the case), using only a single wind instrument, I’ve wondered on how to plan that possibility over the entire instrumental range.

Those that know and have performed Berio’s little “O King” might like to compare the vertical organisation of that piece with my own construction(s).

I have not sought to analyse Berio’s music. I just love it. I equally admire the music of Bruno Maderna. Those who have written on his work have not mentioned this aspect. It may be that this is his mode of operation. I wouldn’t dare to assert that though; this is my way. And it has been a 40 year climb to get here!

Token is a short work and I composed it as a gift to the ensemble Endymion. Bruce Nockles (trumpet) and Melinda Maxwell, members of Endymion are also old Yorkies, performers in BCMG and long time friends. It is a sequence of variations on a typical piece of material, which can be found in my work. The variations alternate between simple and more complex (both in style and content: reaching back to near Ravel, as well as moving on my technique).

Token is less than 6 minutes. Play CD (NMC recording, Endymion).