Fugue in G major

Here's another recent work of mine, a lighthearted contrast to the brooding fugue in E minor, this one is full of relentless energy and fun. Perhaps a little too relentless, I've been told.  Pacing is one area I need to work on, in future works. :-D

In any case, this one is much more Bach-like than some of my other fugues, though it does have its decidedly non-Bach moments. Enjoy, and let me know what you think, good or bad.

Score: [fugue14.pdf]

Midi playback: [fugue14.mp3]

Bonus organ rendition (request by Dave D): [fugue14-organ.mp3]

Update 2023-11-13: I hired Ukrainian pianist Polina Chorna to perform this fugue, and was pleasantly surprised at how gentle it turned out:

Polina's interpretation: fugue14-polina.mp3

What do y'all think? It doesn't quite have the relentless energy of the computer playback, but it's much more delicate and musical, IMO.

Update 2023-11-14: David Lilly asked about how I would have performed this piece differently from Polina, so here's a score with some dynamics marked according to how I'd have played it. (It is to be understood as one of many possible interpretations, though, not as the Official One-and-Only True Interpretation!):

Score with possible dynamics: fugue14-dynamics.pdf

Also by request, here's the MIDI (the computer-generated version): fugue14.midi

Update 2023-11-19: David Lilly wanted to make a DAW mock-up that, in his words, "meets that vision" that I had when I wrote it. We went through a few rounds of revisions with my feedback, and arrived at the following mock-up:

DAW mock-up: fugue14-lilly.mp3

Curious how this compares with Polina's rendering and the original MIDI mockup. What do y'all think?

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  • Teoh, that's a great piece. I thoroughly enjoyed it not just for its skill but also the resulting music. Put me in a really good mood.
    (btw Teoh is your first name iirc, am I right?)
    • Hey Mike, good to see you here again. Thanks for the compliment! Glad you liked it.

      Maybe you'd like to try out my Wild Fugue too? It's something very different from what I usually write. :-D Not sure if I'll ever do something like that again, but at least it's a first for me!

      Teoh is actually my last name, but that's what my friends and family call me on this continent. My actual first name is impossible for English speakers to remember. :-D
      • I’ve always wondered. I guess I’ll stick with HS, pronounced “hiss”.
        • 🤣
          • Mike’s right. This is excellent. You fooled my ear that you were headed for a full cadence around 0:33 but pulled away. I find those moments peculiarly enjoyable, and frequently employed by JSB.
            • Thanks! When I wrote this, this particular passage turned out so well that I quoted it again at the end of the retrograde section (replacing the subject in mm.13-14 with its retrograde in mm.59-60), as a way to build up to a final climax and also impart a sense of returning home by quoting a previous passage.

              Originally I wanted to hit that high G in m.60, but decided that it would be more fun to leave that high leading tone stuck in mid-air while the music leapt down an 8ve to begin the final series of entries -- that's IMO more in the fun character of the piece as opposed to a grand cadence with a high G.
  • I'm someone who usually snores his way through most Bach -- and especially fugues. The only exception is when I happen to be singing them (pretty common, living as I do in one of the world's primary Bach cities) in which case there's often quite a physical thrill and the technical mastery is more easily appreciated despite my lack of knowledge or interest in the official theory of fugue construction. As a result, I'm hardly the best sort of person to listen to your primary obsession. Having said that, the G major one seems the most interesting and inventive and I've enjoyed the quirkiness of one or two of your other contributions in the past.
    • Thanks for the compliment, David! And for taking the time to listen, even though it's not your cup of tea. :-)

      In spite of my current obsession with fugues, my approach to them has never been to replicate Bach (or anyone else, for that matter). My fugues are primarily my attempts to adopt the form as my own and to find my own voice in it. So I'm happy to hear that you liked the "quirkiness" in (at least some of) them -- that's pretty much their raison d'etre, so to speak.
  • I don't know much about fugues, but I know what I like, and I like this. It covers a lot of unexpected harmonic ground whilst keeping the movement between and to those moments organic and natural without feeling like you'd decided "now I shall do THIS" and hearing the gears change. I'd love to hear it on organ, but I always say that. Send me the midi and I'll try it myself :)
    • Thought I'd save you the trouble since I already have everything setup for rendering to any instrument I have a Midi soundfont for. Check the bonus mp3 I just posted above.
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