New Hockets II

1995

New Hockets II is written for clarinet, marimba and piano. Like its companion piece, New Hockets for flute and piano, it was initially inspired by a set of seven pieces found in the Bamberg Codex, a late thirteenth-century manuscript. These medieval-era pieces are believed to be among the earliest surviving examples of compositions intended specifically for instrumental performance. In addition to this distinction, they also display a very sophisticated musical construction, based on the the technique of hocket. 

As described at the time, a hocket was “a sort of music sounded in a broken way by actual sounds and their omission”, in other words, it involved the dividing up of a single melodic line into two or more parts. As this was most often in a short-long rhythmic pattern, it was thought to resemble a hiccup (hocket is Latin for hiccup). This technique was very popular with composers in the late 13th and 14th centuries, and eventually a Papal edict was required to ban its vigorous melodic and rhythmic style!

In addition to referencing music from some of the pieces in the Bamberg Codex, New Hockets II  makes extensive use of the hocket technique. Sometimes this produces a musical canon (one voice following another), at first involving only a few notes, but eventually, near the end of the piece, working through all 12 chromatic pitches.


Anthony Genge CA

Born in Vancouver, composer Anthony Genge worked as a performer of jazz and rhythm and blues before studying composition. He was a student of the American composer Morton Feldman, and received his Ph.D. in composition in 1985. He also studied composition at McGill University and the University of Victoria, and with the Japanese composer Jo Kondo in Tokyo.

Genge’s music is characterized by its distinctive harmonic language, elegant orchestration and postmodern mix of musical elements. His compositions have been performed by leading orchestras, soloists and chamber ensembles in the Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. Many of his works are available on recordings, and have been used for film and dance.

In addition to his work as a composer, Genge maintains an active career as one of Canada’s leading jazz pianists.  Currently, he divides his time between Victoria, B.C., on the Canadian west coast, and Antigonish, Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada, where he is Professor of Music at St. Francis Xavier University.

Anthony Genge