Etudes and Fugues for Solo Marimba

Matthew Coley has posted videos of the fugues I wrote for him last year.  He’s working now on the etudes and expects to have them up shortly.

My concept for these pieces was not just that they pay homage to previous composers (i.e. Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Hindemith, Shostakovich, Ligeti), but that they each pose a particular challenge to both the composer and soloist.

Like the fugues of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, the fugues of this set fall into one of two categories; a more slower, more solemn, stile antico type (as with the first), and a faster, more dancelike style (as with fugues II through IV).

The classical “rules” of fugue demand a very economical approach to melodic ideas (Schoenberg defines the form as “a composition with maximum self-sufficiency of content”).  Much of my practice deals with squeezing the most juice from very small musical fruit, and so it was a both a joy and a real challenge to compose the most artful music from a single idea.  Traditional contrapuntal techniques such as inversion and retrograde are used throughout, as are traditional key relationships, although the pitch materials are of a more contemporary variety.