John Anthony Lennon
Cor Prudentis: for brass ensemble and timpani

N.p., ,
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2010

Score and parts


Cor Prudentis premiered in 1995. It was composed for the inauguration of Emory University’s President, William Chase. The title of the work is taken from Emory University’s motto “cor prudentis possidebit scientiam,” which translates to “the wise heart seeks knowledge.” Cor Prudentis is scored for 4 horns in F, 6 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, 1 tuba and timpani. Lennon utilizes interesting harmonies and soaring melodic lines throughout his composition. The compositional style of the work is reminiscent of Renaissance brass writing with close harmonies, hints of imitative polyphony and hocket in the middle of the work. Lennon utilizes open fifths and open octaves throughout the composition to create really interesting harmonic movement. Sometimes this harmonic movement provides pull seventh chords and other times it provides clashes in harmony that quickly resolve. Another interesting compositional tool that Lennon utilizes is polychords. These polychords keep the fifths, but include full chords rather than just open intervals. As the composition approaches its pinnacle, the texture thickens but at a softer dynamic. Once the piece reaches its peak, it becomes softer and restates opening melodic content but with different harmonies. The harmonies may seem basic, but in actuality are difficult to tune. I recommend this piece for a collegiate level group. The use of suspensions, sevenths and range, particularly in the trombone parts, requires strong musicians to perform well.

Reviewer: Matthew Visconti
Review Published January 31, 2019