Escalator Series from Cors de chasse

An Escalator Series is a personal species of ‘ground’, or chaconne, that I developed for the first time in this work; the distinctive feature of the series is that each repetition occurs one degree higher (semitone or tone). In Cors de chasse a long central section is built upon this ground during a long process of durational augmentation, effecting a discrete rallentando that is itself set within the overall rallentando process of the whole work. Successive statements of the Escalator Series are augmented in duration until the statement is so stately as to dissipate its initial sense of harmonic movement entirely. Upper voices add decoration and, on occasion, durationally diminished fragments of the ground, in a series of textural variations. The ‘ cadential pull’ that propels the series forward harmonically is distantly related to my processes in the early 1990s deriving materials from the Blues, whose sense of harmonic inevitability attracted me.

[First occurrence: bass trombone/tuba bar 161]

Main occurrence: full orchestra bar 172 (up to approximately bar 215):







c Piers Hellawell 2019