The motet Absalon, fili mi is a stunningly beautiful example of Franco-Flemish polyphony. Ascribed to Josquin des Prez (ca. 1450-1521), the work may also have been composed by Pierre de La Rue (ca. 1452-1518). The earliest known manuscript was copied sometime between 1509 and 1523 by Petrus Alamire (ca. 1470- ca. 1534) who was a scribe known to have worked closely with La Rue. This source mentions no composer at all, but the work does exhibit aspects of La Rue’s style which are not found in Josquin. For instance, the low register of the bassus is characteristic of La Rue’s work. The first attribution to Josquin appears in a German collection ca. 1540 - long after his death and far from his homeland which calls the veracity of the attribution into question. Also, this source attributes a few other works to Josquin that were probably not written by him. Thus, we cannot be entirely certain who wrote this work. Here it has been arranged for Tuba Quartet.
It's a tuba solo with piano accompaniment. The ideas came to me one afternoon while I was doing something in the garden. I realised I had not yet written a piece featuring my own instrument and I was looking into the depths of a pond when I thought I'd better get busy.
It opens with a quasi cadenza in the style of a Bach partita and this contains all of the material that follows. when the piano joins in it holds a chord progression that sounds a little 'churchy'. but then it begins a conversation with the tuba. which becomes progressively more complex. This leads to a fugal idea, again based on the cadenza. The piano pontificates gently while the tuba listens patiently, butting in occasionally.
Then the piano introduces a march-like motif which is taken up by both instruments. There follows a bit of a contest between them, using elements of the fugal theme and the cadenza. Some of it is discordant, but then they find some common ground and the dialogue moves to a satisfactory conclusion, reprising ideas from the opening, but with the tuba more assertive. After a final reprise of the fugal motifs, the tuba decides he has had enough and settles the argument with a deep thought!