Music Composers Unite!
WARNING : Ear Classification Rating - contains mild to strong dissonance and no tune you can hum. Not useable in a trailer context. Recommended ear strength - seasoned 20thC+ (and curious, adventurous ears).
Just joking, but you have been warned. A response to Bach from my point of view, here are 3 of a planned 12 (8 done so far). The Preludes generally obsess over a technical pianism and limited material whilst the fugues get their subject from something in their accompanying Prelude. The piano writing is virtuosic but not in a showy way and as the warning said, the harmony hovers between mild and strong dissonance with excursions into both territories.
Each pair is around 5mins long, so I hope some will find the time to listen and comment....(oh hell)
BTW, if you don't like them, have a go at HS and Gregorio for making me post them...it's all their fault... :-)
Here are the scores.......
EXCELLENT..EXQUISITE--too damn good Mike :)
I enjoyed these tremendously, (the preludes more than the fugues :)) and the performance just enhances this great music.
Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito
I listened to the D P&F. The prelude has beautifully iridescent, and subtle harmonic movement.. A pleasure to hear! The only question that came up for me was the possibility of what mutating the triplet rhythm a bit might (here and there) do to compliment your complex harmonic.. Just a question. Really beautiful!
The Fugue has a wonderfully urgent quality. I felt some Shostakovich and Bartok there, in the best sense! Loved all the dramatically dynamic shifts. Just bursting with vitality!
I will listen to the others next break..
Thanks for posting. (much food for thought to ponder here.)
Listened to D. Surprisingly (for me), I actually liked it. The prelude sounded like trickling water to me, with an eerie overall feel to it. I had a bit of a hard time following the score, though I attribute that entirely to my lousy (read: non-existent) sight-reading skills.
The fugue... wow! I actually liked it a lot. The subject has a strong, clearly-recognizable rhythm, and I liked how you developed it and alluded to it in various places, especially the way you actually modified the rhythm but it remains recognizable. Especially liked the buildup from about m.52 to m.57. The ending I found rather interesting, quoting the signature rhythm of the subject, yet, as it sounded to me, stepping on the brakes and quickly grinding to a halt. I was half-expecting a more traditional ending with strong closure, but I think what you have here works equally well (and probably suits the character of the work better).
FWIW, me being merely an amateur pianist (and not a very good one), I'm inclined to say putting it on two staves would be more helpful in terms of knowing which notes are intended to be played by which hand... but OTOH, the complexity in some places may be better rendered in 3-staff format as you have here. In any case, even as early as Rachmaninoff 3-staff notation for piano has been employed to notate particularly complex textures for the sake of clarity, so I suppose ultimately it's up to you.
From the POV of analysis, though, your 3-staff format is certainly easier to read, as they show the lines much more clearly than if the middle "voice" has to keep switching between upper/lower staves. (Not to mention it can be a pain to write it that way, depending on how well your notation software handles this sort of thing.)
P.S.S., I also heard a bit of Shostakovich in there, as well as Khatchaturian. Of course, with the usual disclaimers that impressions are merely impressions, probably heavily biased and colored by my limited listening repertoire when it comes to non-traditional harmony.
Glad to hear it Mike--you really did some job with these pieces :)
Thanks, steel eared Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito
Mike Hewer said:
Your capitals gave me a big, BIG boost. Compliments from the man with steel ears ( thats a compliment!) are encouraging as I forage around on the periphery of a world you know very well.
Listened to no.5 on F. The prelude is quiet, contemplative, and oddly tonal to my ears, or straying rather near tonality, quite to my surprise. Not that it's a bad thing or anything like that, but I was a bit surprised to hear something like that after reading your "scary" warnings.
The fugue is more jagged, and energetic. Nice development of the motifs in the subject. I did find this subject a little harder to recognize compared to your fugue on D, though. (Could just be my personal bias, mind you.) And I wasn't quite sure what to think of the syncopated 16-8-16 figure that appeared around m.39 and then gradually became a prominent motif, almost rivalling the subject. Sounds almost jazz-like. Anyway, I liked how you have a fake stretto with the subject's opening motif in m.57 leading into a climactic descent. And then at the end, I felt like I've been trolled... what's up with this F major triad at the very end?! Isn't this supposed to be atonal stuff?? :-P (Kidding... I think that's a rather clever tie-in to the pseudo-tonality of the prelude. Very interesting.)
Listened to no.6 on C. I like the prelude, fast and virtuosic, and full of energy. I notice that your preludes tend to have more-or-less the same structure: theme > slight development > theme > longer development > climax > pause > theme > conclusion. Is this intentional? I like the bold, percussive ending.
The fugue subject has a nice character to it, and I like how you thicken the texture in the exposition almost in the "traditional" way. Nice augmentation around mm. 132-135. The slower passage mm.147-155 I didn't quite get the first time round, but on the second listen, I see how you've cleverly morphed the subject into a different, but still somewhat recognizable rhythm. Very nice. I like how mm.169 onwards pulls the fugue back to the motifs from the prelude, and concludes with the same percussive ending. Very nice wrap-up of the prelude/fugue pair.
Hi Mike. Looking at the score for D - it all looks very playable.. (though challenging).. Having 3 clefs for the fugue - does make things visually clear, but unnecessary for much of it - (it is easier to sight read with 2 clefs though one would quickly adjust) - But 3 clefs are definitely helpful/necessary in certain spots..
Thanks for listening HS and I'm so pleased you picked up on a lot of detail, that means I'm doing my job ok. I nearly didn't post the D p+f because it is quite dissonant, but now I'm glad I did. I said I'd ease you all in with milder pieces, hence no5 on F. As you have heard, it is completely tonal in places and yes, the jazzy (ish) syncopation in the fugue. Very funny about the Fmajor troll.
You might be interested to know that the fugue onC is a double fugue, with the second subject appearing at b138 and a combining of both subjects at b165 cf. (although the 2 subjects play with each other prior to that....err, that doesn't sound right!)
The form of the preludes are not really pre-planned and what you've discerned is very interesting, I shall keep aware of that as it could be a weakness.
Yeah, I knew it was do-able even if, as you say, it is challenging-thanks for giving it a detailed look and confirming this for me, most appreciated. As I was playing through the 3 stave pieces (slowly I might add) , I got used to reading them over 3 staves. If a pianist ever took them on, a few brackets here and there would be useful and I may incorporate them, but am happy with 3 staves for the more complex fugues (3 so far are in this format).