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Saraband (Judas)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (04/09/17)
Composer: Ferguson, Barry
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Contemporary
Barry Ferguson was born in 1942 and studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar. After an appointment as Assistant at Peterborough Cathedral, he became Organist at Wimborne Minster and Rochester Cathedral. He is now a freelance composer, lecturer and recitalist. He lectures on Thomas Hardy and Music for the University of Bristol and on other musical subjects. In addition, he is a superb counter-tenor (male alto), and was often featured as a soloist.

In my earlier upload of "Intrada" by Timothy Redman, I mentioned the book "The Cathedral Organist," published by Cramer in 1979. This work is also contained in the same volume, and I've been fascinated by it for years, although I was always sort of afraid of it, as there are many notes, and a lot of big chords. However, I determined last week that THIS was the year I was going to do it!

Composed in October 1976, the work is dedicated: "for Ronald Duncan", and gives the info "Composed for the production of "Judas" a dramatic poem by Ronald Duncan, in Wimborne Minster on 2nd April 1977."

Ronald Duncan (6 August 1914 – 3 June 1982) was a writer, poet and playwright, now best known for preparing the libretto for some of Benjamin Britten's works.

I have no idea how the work was "used" in the play, but it is a terrifying piece. It's GOT to be a depiction of the processional to Calvary (although it doesn't say so), with it's screaming chords, and exceptionally heavy "dragging" of the bass, as if the feet can not pick up because of the heavy load.

It preserves the form and rhythm of a saraband, so, the time must be kept quite strict.

If you are looking for "enjoyment" from this piece, I think you will be left feeling empty.

If you however wish to stand at the roadside, and witness the awful spectacle taking place...

A photo of Barry Ferguson and one of Ronald Duncan are attached below. In addition you'll see photos of Wimborne Minster, where the piece was premiered, and of Rochester Cathedral.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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