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Kats-Chernin, Elena: Prelude and Cube (2014) 13'
for chorus and orchestra (period instruments if possible)

Music Text


from the Bible (Magnificat) and Martin Luther ("Vom Himmel hoch") (G)



Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney
Jane Sheldon, soprano / Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Choir / Paul Deyer

Composer's Notes


Prelude and Cube was commissioned to celebrate the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s 25th anniversary: a fantastic honour but also a huge responsibility to compose a work for such an occasion. For an anniversary piece it was important to involve everyone in the orchestra. For me it was intriguing to work with period instruments.
The trigger was a work by Bach which would also feature in the anniversary concert: his Magnificat. Originally I had thought of writing a Prelude and Fugue in tribute to Bach, but I don’t write fugues. A cube is three-dimensional, so I had in mind something like a Rubik’s cube, where the parts are moving but still fit together. Some of Bach’s chord sequences which I have used, to me are like a cube within a cube.
Elena Kats-Chernin

Press Quotes


"... a crowd-pleaser if ever there was one. It built its themes gradually from a series of Bachian ostinatos, heading for the first glorious entry of the soprano saxophone, which generally soared over the rest of the band. The choir then added some whacky nonsense lyrics before the second climax and the singing of the Magnificat opening, this time in German. The second part of the work was more overtly minimalist – reminiscent at times of Glass in his 1980s mode with the sax giving it just a dash of Michael Nyman – which isn’t meant to lessen the originality of Kats-Chernin’s vision. It had many highly imaginative touches, from slap-bass solos to funky chamber organ riffs, giving the baroque players a chance to let their hair down." (Clive Paget, Limelight, 20 Feb 2014)

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