In Nomine

Philippe Hersant (b. 1948) In Nomine (2001)  

Philippe Hersant studied music primarily with André Jolivet at the Paris Conservatory before being in residence at the Casa Velásquez from 1970 to 1972 and then at the Villa Medici from 1978 to 1980. Since 1973 he has been a producer for radio broadcasts with France Musique. Hersant is inspired greatly by his memory and melodic quotation is a key element to his artistic output; however his quotations are far from mere copies of previous ideas. Hersant reflects on his compositional style, “My musical borrowings are not willful rewritings: it is a necessary surge that imposes itself in the course of composition. The integration of quotations is not premeditated but results from listening continuously to works that I liked at a given moment in my life and which resurface in the composition.” Philippe Hersant was Yellow Barn’s 2011 Composer in Residence.

Philippe Hersant offers the following note for In Nomine:

In Nomine exploits the contrast between a solo cello and a group of six others, rather like Messagesquisse by Boulez, and is inspired by the type of instrumental fantasy which flourished in England during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. John Taverner wrote a six-part mass (c1520) based on the Sacrum vesper antiphon Gloria tibi Trinitas. The In Nomine section of the Benedictus was particularly admired at the time, and many transcriptions of it were made. This in turn encouraged other composers to write instrumental pieces in similar vein, the two finest undoubtedly being Purcell’s six- and seven-part settings for viol consort.

Drawing inspiration from that tradition, I based my work entirely on the liturgical theme. It is present most of the time in various forms, and subjected to many variations right up to the conclusion where it appears in Taverner’s original harmonization.

In Nomine was commissioned by the city of Beauvais, and is dedicated to L’Octuor de Violoncelles from the same town.