Ockeghem Variations

The Hexagon Ensemble: Ockeghem Variations


Instrumentation: Wind quintet and piano
Duration: 16:45
Commission: Hexagon Ensemble
Premiere: 3/20/00
Hexagon Ensemble
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

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Program Note:
Ockeghem Variations was inspired by the fifteenth-century Flemish composer whose music is such an intriguing blend of elastic motion and intricate detail. Like Josquin in his Nymphes des bois, I have chosen to symbolically represent Ockaghem’s name in my music. While Josquin chose to make the total number of notes correspond with the numeric representation of the name Ockeghem (exchanging each letter for the number representing its place in the alphabet for a total of 64), I chose to base the pitches on these numbers, creating a seven-note scale. Gradually, I add back the “missing” pitches to create a full pitch spectrum. There are also allusions to Ockeghem’s Missa Prolationum, particularly in movements one and four. However, my treatment of rhythm and pacing is more extreme, as is the registral dispersion and variety of texture. Rather than a traditional set of variations based on a specific theme or harmonic progression in Ockeghem’s music, the five movements of my piece should be heard as a meditation on and personal response to his music.–JS

Press Quote:
“…[Shatin] writes in the most advanced style among these five works…, but her writing is accessible and sustains interest throughout…The work is based on the Kyrie from Ockeghem’s Missa prolationum, but I suspect that few purchasers of this disc will have that tune firmly implanted in their minds. This is the most distinctive work on the CD, and is an excellent choice to close the recital, as Shatin’s imaginative music will resonate in my mind for some time.”

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