Musical contribution - September 2023
Cantilène - Arthur William Marchant (1850-1921)
We shouldn’t confuse this composer of the month with French Baroque composer, Louis Marchand. Apart from the fact that his name is written differently, Arthur was born over 150 years later. He grew up in London and became organist there, before moving to the US when he was 30. On his return, he worked in Scotland for the last 25 years of his life.
We don’t know many of his own compositions. A single choral work is still occasionally performed, as well as some organ arrangements. Marchant has remained largely unknown otherwise.
The Cantilène was composed in a so-called A-B-A form. The outer movements, as the title suggests, have a beautiful song-like melody. Arthur William’s own suggestion was to use an “oboe with trem.” Of course, another beautiful soft reed would also work just as well. The short middle movement seems more fragmented, but provides a great contrast to the two outer movements.