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Villa Mors Chaconne
for solo guitar

Work no. 54


    The Villa Mors is an abandoned castle-like villa in Tourgeville, on the cold coast of Normandy. It used to belong to the Mors family – early pioneers of the French automotive industry. The Mors automobile factory was eventually bought by Citroën, and few people remember Mors cars today. A very particular Google Street View shot, one of the earliest made for the project in Normandy, was the inspiration behind the title and some of the music. At the time of composing the piece, I couldn't even dream of ever visiting Tourgeville, but about a year later a very fortunate opportunity arose to do just that.

    I've documented the state of the villa in 2016. The photographs, and a bit more information about the history of the villa, can be found in my Flickr album. I'd love to know more about the history of the place, so if you have any information about it, I'd appreciate it if you dropped me a line at the e-mail address provided at the bottom of the page.

    Musically, this isn't a chaconne in the traditional sense of the word. Instead of regular variations over an unchanging bass, each variation has a different length, so the bass line changes accordingly. This is one of the reasons why I think it's one of my most successful works, even if it is unabashedly unidiomatic. The lengths of the sections all being different, covering every possibility from one bar to twelve bars, makes this into a kind of completely hermetic, self-sustaning ecosystem.

    The piece is related in some ways to the Prince Street Chaconne, which also was inspired by photographs of an abandoned place where people once lived.

    PDF score

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