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edifice

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John Alexander writes: "The word 'edifice' comes from the Latin aedificium - building - and is based on aedis - dwelling - and facere - make. In English, 'edify' originally meant 'construct a building', as well as 'strengthen'; which is probably why we arrive at the phrase, 'to build up' (morally, physically or spiritually). Building up (in melodic profile, as I was facing a vertical wall), was my original starting point for this piece in an attempt to meet the brief of composing something that had connotations of 'rock music', using the techniques of 'contemporary classical music' by means of a solo double bass.

In both architecture and music, there is a place for the framing of geometry - the building blocks (repetition of a musical idea) - as well as the unruly accident of the organic - virtuoso graphic representations, or related integrative decoration (developmental transformations of the idea). Indeed, it might be said that an architectural building or a piece of music, equally try to incorporate both the practical (utilitarian) with the skilfully subtle (refinement of variation).

The form of this 'edifice' follows the vagaries of imagination. Its function is to be played and heard; and perhaps, to make characterful responses within buildings. With many thanks for this helpful input during the composition of this piece, it is warmly dedicated to Claus Alexander Freudenstein."

edifice was premiered on 6 August 2013 at the Silk Mill in Frome (Somerset) by Claus Freudenstein, as part of Bass-Fest 2013.

edifice received its US premiere on 26 August 2013 in Mexico by Claus Freudenstein, at a workshop organised by Contrabajos de Baja California.


John Alexander was born in West Sussex in 1942 and began to compose at the age of 20. At the time he discovered a fascination for art, literature, dance, architecture and sculpture and these topics, along with mathematics, have continued to have a bearing on his work. He studied composition with Edmund Rubbra at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and later with Jonathan Harvey and Peter Wiegold at the University of Sussex.

John Alexander has never been a prolific composer, but an impressive and growing body of work reflects a rare eye for detail and structure - each work beautifully crafted and reworked until every inflection, detail and nuance is perfect. Probably best described as a miniaturist, he writes in a fluent, independent and strongly personal style with an intense desire to create music which communicates to both performer and audience alike.

In 1999 John Alexander won the 1st BIBF Composition Contest and was invited to be a judge for several BIBF competitions. He was a featured composer at Bass-Fest 2001 and 2013, was an spnm short-listed composer for three years, and was Composer-in-residence at the 2004 Rotterdam Conservatoire Double Bass Weekend, Bass-Fest 2006, 2007 and 2014 and at Wells Double Bass Weekend. His works have been performed and broadcast throughout the world and he was written an impressive and unique body of work for double bass.

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Cat No. RM653
Supplier Code RM653
Price £7.50
ComposerJohn Alexander
CategoryDouble Bass Solo
PublisherRecital Music
Difficulty level8, Advanced
ISMN 979-0-57045-653-6
EAN-13 9790570456536
Weight 77 grams
Published 20th November 2013
Availability 9 in stock
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