A lyrical piece for tuba and piano borrowing freely from pop, jazz and rock styles
- 3 minutes, 45 seconds
The original version of Cantilena (Op.11) was written in 1987 for alto saxophone and piano. Its title derives from its prominent use of sustained, smooth-flowing melodic lines; indeed the melody was recycled from an arietta from the opera, Yellow Earth Ridge, which has since been withdrawn by the composer.
Cantilena tries to capture a popular flavour, borrowing freely from pop, jazz and rock styles: primary and secondary chords are used in arpeggiated piano figures, as mainstream ballads might do; pedal notes are a feature, especially on the tonic note; and a ‘bluesy’ style emerges in the third main theme.
A pseudo-rock style is twice used on the climax section, which acts as a song-like chorus.
Cantilena is in the key of D flat major overall, but even the introduction uses ‘wrong-note’ harmony (notably flattened sevenths) to produce ambiguous tonality. The piece demonstrates a range of tone colour for the tuba across a wide melodic range.