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Thema Ostinata

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (06/21/12)
Composer: Palmer, Clement Charlton
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
Greetings from Mt. Rushmore!

Clement Charlton Palmer was born on 26 April 1871 in Barton-under-Needwood in Staffordshire. His father, Dr. Clement Palmer, was the local general practitioner. He was educated at the Derby School of Music and at Repton School.

He served as organist of at St Leonard's. Wichnor and at St. Andrew's, Pau (France). He became Assistant Organist of Lichfield Cathedral in 1890, remaining there until 1897. When Ivor Atkins was appointed as Master of the Music at Worcester Cathedral, Palmer succeeded him as Organist Ludlow Parish Church, remaining there until his appointment as Organist of Canterbury Cathedral, remaining there until 1937. He died in 1944.

This fascinating piece, "Thema Ostinata" was composed on February 25, 1911. It is, at least to my ears, a very unusual work. It is certainly what one expects from an "ostinato-type" of piece.

It begins with the thema stated in the pedal. The variations begin on the Great Diapasons. The piece soon modulates from G to C, and the thema is played on the Solo Clarinet, accompanied by the Swell Diapasons and Hautboy. Then it's back to G, but with some subtle harmonic variations. The middle section features the Orchestral Oboe of the Solo in a "snakey" E minor. The thema is varied in a general crescendo, using chromatic harmonies, building up to almost full organ with the thema on the Solo Tuba in octaves in the left hand. The Pedal Ophicleide 16' comes in, and the piece crescendos over an extended pedalpoint. The final Coda using a chromatic descending bass with the Tuba appearing again in the last two measures.

I can't say just what it is, but it sort of reminds me of the music of John Dowland... ;-) The time signature of the piece is 7/4-8/4, so this certainly adds to the "unusual feel" of the work.

The reason that I begin this description with a greeting from Mt. Rushmore, is because Palmer was the first man to scale this lofty peak (1906) WITHOUT a safety harness!!!
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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