"March Oubliée" -
The Schubert Ensemble of London
The title of this work, "Forgotten March", was suggested by the remarkable sequence of "Forgotten Waltzes" composed by Liszt towards the end of his life.
The piece is a kind of funeral march that is deliberately pulled out of rhythmic joint. It is as if the marchers are the dead themselves, rather than their mourners. I had just read Ismail Kadare's novel "The General of the Dead Army", in which an Italian officer returns to Albania to locate the bodies of Italian soldiers, and had undoubtedly been influenced by the image of an army of the dead marching underground.
The pitch material is entirely built from the opening three-note figure which, appropriately but coincidentally, is a variant of the one on which "Seachanges (with danse macabre)" is built.
"Marche oubliée" is dedicated to the Schubert Ensemble of London, for whom it was commission by Music Network in 1996.