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Hi All,

Well having talked the talk a bit too much on this forum, I thought it only fair to walk the walk again and put my head on the block. With thanks to Kristofer, H.S and Nate for re-awakening my passion for Fugue, I offer the 2nd of a planned 12 preludes and fugues for piano. Two others are written, but not in Sibelius yet.

Please don't expect Bach here, I have adapted the forms to suit my own purposes, but I have tried to keep the spiritual essence of his music in mine, albeit in a modern language. It's about 5'.30" long

Ok, I've now got my hard hat on...comment away if you wish.....

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Mike, for me, all I can offer is;  As prose is to poetry this is robust.

                                                 but failed to connect with my ear.

                                                 Prelude and Fugue, in this manner ?

                                                 Is foreign to all that I trust.

                                                 Though I think you're intent sincere,

                                                 I would give it another banner.   RS

Very impressive work Mike, thank you for posting. I think the idea of combining widely different styles is very effective and definitely justifies the commitment to following your plan for a total of twelve. I like the open quality of no time signature and the quasi bar lines, I'm sure a performing artist would make the most of the freedom of expression that offers. This is a  "modern" piece, but the dissonances are smoothly phrased, I think you could easily be more aggressive with those elements and still have this be accessible to more conservative ears. Just my opinion of course, I look forward to hearing more! 

Hi Roger,

Thanks for at least listening and what a neat ditty. I'm on a jaunt through some less travelled roads these days, who knows what I'll find....

Ingo,

The idea of 12 is that each fugue will start on a different note and each fugue subject is a development of a fragment from its prelude.

You are so right about my treatment of dissonance. I still have a residual respect for  vertical considerations in my thinking and will probably always retain that, but yes, there is room for more - I'll post the 1st and 3rd fugues when they are done, you may hear in them a more aggressive form of harmony. Your kind words are encouraging me.

Ingo Lee said:

Very impressive work Mike, thank you for posting. I think the idea of combining widely different styles is very effective and definitely justifies the commitment to following your plan for a total of twelve. I like the open quality of no time signature and the quasi bar lines, I'm sure a performing artist would make the most of the freedom of expression that offers. This is a  "modern" piece, but the dissonances are smoothly phrased, I think you could easily be more aggressive with those elements and still have this be accessible to more conservative ears. Just my opinion of course, I look forward to hearing more! 

Hey Mike, I gave this another listen and I'm still liking this a lot. This has a very steady left-hand pulse through most of the fugue section which gives it great momentum and allows the ornamentation to float nicely over the top.

I wondered if you could comment on any direct influences on this piece, I'm now hearing almost a stride jazz influence here, even, good grief Art Tatum?!  Maybe I'm off my meds again.

Mike,

     Interesting and weird.  I don't know what to make of it, since I have no frame of reference.  It's a very complicated piece of modern music.  ( I did listen to the cello concerto of John Williams you suggested.  My only complaint, it sounds too much like John Williams.  I am attempting to appreciate his work but I'll never be a fan.)

    

Hi Ingo,

Thanks for persisting with it, I'm glad you are getting something out of it.

Can't really comment on the piece as such, but I can say that I always strive to match up to Brittens' invention and ease of execution, Tippets' lyrical freedom and Dutilleauxs' sensual harmony - needless to say I invariably fall short, but I keep trying.

Actually, there is one influence that I intend to utilise in these pieces, Messiaens' technique of additive rhythms, of which b28 is an example.

If your interested in this technique you can read about it here...

http://www.jonathandimond.com/downloadables/Theory%20of%20Music-Mes...

I wonder if you mean the LH at b38 in connection with stride....get back on those meds boy, better still, send me some.....

Thanks again Ingo.

Hi Lawrence,

I'm just pleased you gave it a go, thank you.

I too will often listen to music either recommended to me, or music I wouldn't normally go for, I think it's an important part of the journey and although it may not end up being a pleasant experience, at the very least it's educational.

At least you gave the Williams a chance, respect for that.



Lawrence Aurich said:

Mike,

     Interesting and weird.  I don't know what to make of it, since I have no frame of reference.  It's a very complicated piece of modern music.  ( I did listen to the cello concerto of John Williams you suggested.  My only complaint, it sounds too much like John Williams.  I am attempting to appreciate his work but I'll never be a fan.)

    

Mike, I really enjoyed this piece.  It is sophisticated and modern yet wholly engaging.  I wish more composers wrote music like this.  

I listened to this twice.  The first time it was difficult to get into... the second time was easier.

Overall, I like the prelude part; I think you did a good job in maintaining a calm yet mysterious mood.

The fugue part wasn't bad either, but I felt that either the title was a misnomer, or it didn't really live up to the promise of a fugue.  I'm not talking about a Bach-style fugue here, mind you, but I felt that there was too much "stop and go": I felt you could have done so much more with the subject in terms of occurrences that don't start on the same beat.  There wasn't that much of the interplay of voices like one would expect in a fugue; what you have is more-or-less a statement of the subject, pause, another statement coupled with an inversion underneath, pause, another combination of subject and something else, pause, etc.. It would have been so much more interesting if the inversion, for example, appeared half a bar late, so that while it's still going on, the RH has moved on to the next idea, etc.. I think you had this in at least one part, which was good, but overall, it felt like the sections were too clearly delineated, with too many pauses in between.

You also had rhythms that coincided far too often; it would have been so much more interesting to listen to if the rhythms in the RH and LH parts are markedly different so that many more interesting rhythmic interactions occur. As it stands, I found too many mono-rhythmic passages, which greatly detracted from what would otherwise have been a very clever, modern take on fugue.  I didn't get too much feeling of "chasing one's own tail" (the two voices imitating each other in turn, one getting ahead then the other, etc.) that makes fugues so interesting to listen to.

I also felt the ending wasn't satisfying enough... I'm not talking about a traditional cadence or anything like that here; but the ending felt somewhat suspended in mid-air, like we haven't arrived somewhere new, but just arbitrarily stopped. Perhaps the climax needs a bit more strengthening so that what follows feels more conclusive, I don't know.

Don't get me wrong; I think the fugue part is a pretty good composition in its own right, but IMO it doesn't quite live up to the promise of "fugue". It has fugue-like elements, certainly, but is missing some important characteristics that make fugues the fascinating beasts they are.

It would be one of the most "modern" attempts at a Fugue I'd wager. 

My personal bias that leans towards the types of music I enjoy most, well, tt is far too dissonant for my taste, ever. And I can take dissonance, Oingo Boingo from the 80s is some of my favorite music to listen to. And yes I can stand a Schoenberg piece here and there sometimes!

I am not arguing though that there is not a serious attempt at music here. There is a lot of extremely complex work going into. . . the notation complexity? Rather than the complexity of the harmony or music itself. I don't argue there's not a well stated structure and motifs in this work, but they are very complex and it takes ( in my opinion) a musical theory inclined person to pick up on them. Does that make sense? I see what you're doing though

The fact you were able to notate so delicately something as "loose" as is this is extremely impressive and requires musical knowledge to an extreme degree. It is also highly detailed in the way it is notated. I do feel if someone with advanced skills were to pick up that sheet music up and learn and interpret this piece, they'd do quite well at playing something very close to what we heard here.

Hi David,

Thanks for listening.

 Music in this language is always going to divide people more than usual, but posts like yours are one of the reasons I joined this particular forum as your critique is fair, balanced  and despite you not liking it, I'm still encouraged, rightly or wrongly.

 I don't know Oingo Boingo so I'll hunt them (her/him/it ?) out, I'm always open to music I don't know.

Mike.

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