Basset Horn part from Preludes and Fugue Mvt. 1

Prelude 1: Double Reeds

2 minutes
Other and Modern classical music

Program Notes

Preludes and Fugue is a four-movement antiphonal work– specifically three preludes and a triple fugue– written for three contrasting quartets: a double reed ensemble consisting of oboe, english horn, bassoon, and contrabassoon; a clarinet ensemble consisting of soprano clarinet, basset horn, bass clarinet, and B-flat contrabass clarinet; and a modified string quartet consisting of violin, viola, violoncello, and double bass. The first three movements are preludes designed to foreshadow the fugue. Each prelude isolates one of the quartets and explores one of the impending fugue subjects in contrasting atmospheres and styles.

The first prelude explores the initial motive of the third subject, performed by the double reeds. Stylistically, the prelude is of a light and playful character that one normally would identify with the bassoon. This fragment of the third subject is passed around humorously from one instrument to another.

The second prelude of the string quartet explores the first subject of the fugue but with much more subtlety. Specifically, the initial leap of a major 7th in the first subject, as well as its minor 2nd inversion relative, is developed in harmonic fashion rather than melodically. This movement explores darker emotions, spanning a lament to an ill-fated romance.

The third prelude develops the second subject with much more stylistic contrast in comparison with the first two preludes. The clarinet quartet showcases their wide range of possible color combinations. The prelude begins aggressively, then lightens in accompaniment, yet juxtaposes itself with a rustic, penetrating B-flat contrabass clarinet solo. A lyrical section follows, a peculiar section follows later, then the prelude ends with a light-hearted and playful section.

The finale is a triple fugue of the three subjects, involving all three quartets. The fugue begins traditionally but slowly opens up to experimentation with more modern representations of counterpoint. Each subject is introduced separately with its own exposition, played by its respective quartet. However, after all three expositions conclude, the three ensembles unravel and then intertwine as one mass ensemble. At one point, all the bass voices are vertically stacked on top of each other and each act as an individual bass–in an interesting moment, the B-flat contrabass clarinet overtakes the double bass as the bottom voice. Then the other voices interact over each of these basses in their respective harmonic regions, creating tritonality within the confines of the fugal setting.

Which method of viewing music should I use?

Score Exchange has two methods to display previews of music: seView which uses regular html and javascipt and the Scorch plug-in from Avid which needs to be downloaded and installed onto your computer. Both have advantages and disadvantages:


seView, is the most compatible option. You should be able to view music on all modern web browsers including most mobile devices. Even if your device does not support javascript you should still be able to preview at least page one of the music.

You do not need to install any additional software to use seView.


Scorch is a free plug-in from Avid for displaying and printing music. It can also play the music that you're seeing. As modern web browsers are updated, Scorch is no longer compatible with many browsers. Scorch has never been compatible with mobile devices and some web browsers on Mac computers.

If your web browser does not install Scorch automatically, you can click here to download and install scorch manually.

cloud scorch goes here

Licensing for this music

This part was published on Score Exchange by Thomas Joseph. When you buy it, you are granted a license that includes the following:

Sharing the file you download
When you buy the score - make multiple copies
When you buy parts - make multiple copies

For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

In order to submit this part to Thomas Joseph has declared that they own the copyright to this work in its entirety or that they have been granted permission from the copyright holder to use their work. If you believe that this part should be not available here because it infringes your or someone elses copyright, please report this part using the copyright abuse form.