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Post-Webern style

ApIvor's pursuit of post-Webern style can be plotted in a number of the chamber and orchestral works of the 1960s. Significantly, the vast majority of these works are accompanied by detailed programme notes - in other words, ApIvor's inclination is to attach some concept, form or descriptive idea to a work, which seems intended to support both its composition and ultimately its perception by the audience. Both ApIvor's Mutations, Op. 34 (1962) for cello and piano and the String Quartet No. 1, Op. 37 (1964) explore relationships between movements, akin in the composer's words 'to views of a three-dimensional object seen from a series of different viewpoints'. The title of Animalcules, Op. 35 (1962), a set of twelve short piano pieces, 'derives from the biological term referring to minute organisms each with a form of its own'. A piano work which directly refers to sculpture is The Lyre-Playing Idol, Op. 45 (1968), inspired by the marble figurine, the Cycladic Lyre Player of Keros. Here ApIvor's responses are explicitly programmatic: the work's five main movements depict the figurine summoning up the dawn, the wind, the rain, the thunder, and the night.

Two of the composer's large-scale orchestral works of the 1960s, Tarot, Op. 46 (1968-69) and Neumes, Op. 47 (1969), are particularly notable for their deviation from conventional serial methods. Tarot is organised according to number symbolism, comprising a set of variations based on each of the twenty-two cards of the Greater Arcana of the Tarot pack, and in musical terms employs a hendecaphonic (eleven-note) row and its inversion. A theatrical element also accompanies the work in that ApIvor intended the music to be choreographed and performed with back-projections of each of the cards.

In Neumes, ApIvor for the first time abandoned the use of a twelve-note row, instead composing in an intuitive serial style. To support this departure, he based his music upon the visual shapes made by patterns of Medieval neumes: each of the ten variations employs the neume as 'a miniscule motivic element', which functions as 'direction sign', conditioning the pitch orientation of the music. Hence the first neume is a rising element, and all the music of the first variation is inclined to move upwards, while the second is composed only of descending music. The remaining pieces employ various combinations of rising and falling tones.