The first movement of Ritual (2000-2003) was composed in 2000, and then reworked quite radically in 2003, when the last two movements were composed. The work opens with a seven-note cello ostinato. The other instruments construct a theme that gradually emerges from the chaos and leads to a climax. A brief cadenza by the first violin leads to a more “melodic” central part in which various contrasting episodes follow one another and finally lead to the last part, based on the material exposed at the beginning. In the second movement, two melodic themes are intertwined by different contrapuntal processes (canons, invertible counterpoint etc.) on a pedal-group. The development is essentially based on the colour changes due to the sudden modulations.
This is followed by a fast central section in 7/8 whose relentless rhythm eventually brings back the elements of the first part. This material then slowly becomes rarefied, while the main motif of the lively part appears as a watermark on the first violin. The third movement, which is very fast, is built on four motifs written in reverse counterpoint, but can also follow one another melodically in any order so as to obtain themes of varying length according to the needs of the musical discourse.
This work was recorded on CD by the Bruxellensis Quartet (Kalidisc label 2006).
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