Fugal Impressions, Op. 9

page one of Fugal Impressions, Op. 9

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Full details

Garritan Audio Demo available on YouTube

This piece, commissioned by the Cobalt Duo and composed in the winter of 2017, in Birmingham, UK, is made up of a single movement in three sections or “fugues”. The first one introduces an innovation to the traditional fugal construction. The main subject is not a simple melodic line, but rather a thick melody based on a dodecaphonic series. With each note of the series, a cluster of two consecutive major seconds is set up, and then, in turn, arranged into different “inversions” that create a sense of voice-leading within the three resulting layers, which are intrinsic to the subject and can be distinguished from the contra-subjects and all the other contrapuntal lines. Despite the way these melodies are “camouflaged”, the fugal texture can be perceived in the resulting sound.

This section gives way to a second more traditional fugue, with a Lydian subject. Whilst the first fugue presented poles of attraction, but not a specific tonality, here several clearly defined tonal centres are explored, in a fugal treatment that’s much stricter from a texture standpoint. However, there’s some degree of freedom in the number of voices, and even some homophonic accompaniments appear embedded in the contrapuntal tissue. This section exploits resources of melodic development of the subject and the contra-subjects. It connects with a third and last fugue that is a briefer version of the first one, with some elements borrowed from the second one.

None of these sections is a “fugue” in the strict academic sense of the term. The overall texture is not restricted to a simple contrapuntal writing, but it goes beyond by introducing chords, homophonies, thickened melodies, etc. Neither does it keep a fixed number of voices, although it usually orbits three and four textural “parts”. However, the piece does retain the basic form of a fugue and its structural elements; moreover, it employs resources of melodic and contrapuntal development, even when the texture is laid out with a superposition of rhythmic layers rather than a superposition of melodic lines. This piece poses the idea that the elements of a fugal construction should not be limited to single-layer melodies, but it can also be carried on with almost orchestral textures.

Copyright © 2017 Daniel Cuéllar-Trujillo. All rights reserved.
This work is registered with CopyrightHouse.org. Registration ID: 2108735

Score ID
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
10 minutes
Piano four hands
Modern classical music

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