I was delighted to be asked to write two compositions for the University of Chester's 175th anniversary Founders' Day service. The self-imposed challenge was to inherently link them to the celebrations. In recent years I have been exploring the concept of parody in music, not in any sense caricaturing the music of others, but in the 16th century sense of musical borrowing as practised by such composers as Josquin, Victoria and Palestrina. Through using pre-existing musical ideas as source materials I was able to create a frame of reference directly linking the new works to the University of Chester.
The first piece I appropriated was the Sevenfold Amen which was arranged for the University Chapel Choir by John Stainer (1840-1901) in 1873. This composition is the heart of the opening composition and is formed through the use of a fugal structure whose principal melody (first heard after the Maestoso introduction) is a counterpoint to the Sevenfold Amen. Towards the end, both the fugal subject and parodied Stainer appear superimposed in the climax of the composition.