5 parts •
6 pages •
a year ago •
This is my grave fugue from Nov 2014, with many fixes and improvements, cleaning up things I would not now consider acceptable from my "students". It is also now typeset for credible performance on the organ, as well as exploiting the expectation of the pedal at 16'; thus, there are some passages where the left hand now (happily) goes below the written pitch of the pedal bass, remediating the earlier tenor part's higher flights and collisions.
The recording is on the Sonus Paradisi imaging of the 1720 Schnitger (and sons) organ at Zwolle, Holland.
There are hidden "portato" phrasings with gate_time = 80% (Hauptwerk as well as native renderings).
9 parts •
3 pages •
a year ago •
Violin(2), Viola, Voice(4), Cello, Contrabass
CLICK "Show More"! The closing chorale from the Cantata BWV 105, “Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht.”, notable for its obbligato string parts, which demonstrate God quieting the troubled conscience (Gewissen), slowing down from sixteenths to triplets, to eighths, to quarter notes, the three upper strings expressing an eerie oft-chromatic, contrary-motion texture independent of the chorale.
There are several extraordinary features of the composition and the MuseScore page. The latter is easier to describe, so, that first.
This score exploits a little-known MuseScore feature about which I just learned, “local time signatures”. You will note that in measure 6, the three string parts get different time signatures that the choral parts (it actually happens in 7, but many time signatures have been made invisible, and there is trick measure-numbering). See https://musescore.org/en/handbook/time-signatures#local-time-signatures . Secondly, “portato phrasing” (not to be confused with baked or “French-Fried”) is used heavily, at very least at the last note of each phrased group (the phrasing slurs are Bach’s). https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/4978661 . A contrabass part colla parte on continuo is hidden; the continuo is not realized — read on —
The composition appears at first to be a 4-part choral setting of “Jesu, der du meine Seele” (cf BWV 78.1, https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/879641 , one of my most popular scores) with interesting violin and viola parts. IT IS NOT!!! The present movement is a true seven-part contrapuntal texture; the obbligato string parts are COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of the chorale (but, of course, backing it harmonically). The continuo part, as usual, is colla parte with the choral bass, and serves as bass for both “choirs”, the vocal quartet and the string quartet (4 + 4 -1 = 7). As a result, if the vocal parts be “kräftiglich herausgerissen” (“powerfully ripped out”, cf. BWV 78.1) of the score, you will see what appears to be horrible chorale-writing! They do not stand as a four-voice chorale! For example, look at the last chord of measure 2: there is no third, no F#, in the choral parts, because the first violin has it and the the 4-3 gesture preparing it. Or measure 19, where the tenor screams up to a high Eb to jump down a diminished seventh to a needed F#, where the alto is on G and could have elegantly gone to F# in 4 parts, but the gently-falling motion of the first violin already has that gesture. In m. 8, a suspended G in the alto, a 5-4 suspension, is not even resolved, because it is also in the first violin, where it IS resolved (in 4 parts, that would be flatly unacceptable) And doubling the leading tone is “not as forbidden” in 7 parts as in 4 (cf. m. 12). Consider the horrific Tenor/Bass "direct fifth", violently similar motion from a unison down to a fifth outside of it in m.8!
In 7 parts, rules and demands on linearity of parts are considerably weaker than in 4.
In any setting in more than three parts, including 4, “elegance” and “logic” have to be distributed in different measures (in both senses) to parts as per their thematic importance. Here, of course, the cantus (soprano part) is fixed by the chorale melody. The bass is next in importance. Then the first violin, then the second and viola, then the choral alto and tenor. So the last two, or even three, show kludges, compromises, crazy leaps, “dirty stuff” etc., correspondingly. This is true seven-voice writing, rare in Bach, vanishingly so in chorales.
The modernistic "clusters" (e.g., C D E, m. 3, third beat) are particularly beautiful.
6 parts •
9 pages •
a year ago •
Oboe, Voice(2), Other Woodwinds, Bassoon, Contrabass
Newly phrased with hidden portato and marcato phrasing. See https://musescore.com/user/1831606/scores/960796 -- I cannot update that score because of the new limit (5000 chars) on "About texts". Go there to read what I have to say about this spectacular movement and my realization of it.
The portato and marcato phrasings can be seen by downloading the score and un-hiding "Invisible" elements. Every single word is phrased appropriately, and all of the bass. My phrasing is also influenced by many performances I have heard.
Latest version (3/3/2018) records the continuo realization on the Flauto a Camino stop on the Grande of the 2009 Mascioni organ at Giubiasco, Switzerland, as digitized by Piotr Grabowski, via Hauptwerk. If you select "... Audio sources" and choose "MuseScore audio", you will get the usual "Pan Flute" continuo, which isn't that bad, I think, but some disagree.
5 parts •
7 pages •
a year ago •
Violin(2), Viola, Cello, Contrabass
The thrilling opening movement of Bach’s double violin concerto, collapsed to 4 voices, and phrased with a new technique.
The fire-breathing Vivace which opens Bach’s renowned concerto for two violins and string orchestra is the work which first attracted me to Bach. Seemingly a boiling cauldron of contrapuntal agitation, a closer study reveals a three-voiced movement with an occasional fourth voice, the viola section, to fill at harmony in plunky chord completions and occasional significant “riffs”, but in every way subsidiary to the first two violin parts. Except for certain sections (e.g., m. 22 ff.), where the orchestral violins and viola play “chords”, the violin sections merely double the solo violins, as an organ stop drawn and retired to differentiate -tutti- from -concertino- sections. So, in the interest of simplicity (maybe to be changed), I’ve discarded the orchestral violins. I’ve realized the lowest line in cello and contrabass and not reproduced or realized the figures.
My reason for posting this is my discovery of a new method of phrasing requiring neither piano-editor torture nor external midi tools. The “portato” articulation (in “Ornaments and Articulations”, third row third column, dot under a line) cuts a note back by 1/3 (i.e., to 67% — you can actually change this value in the .mscx). (Actually, in the current posting, I did change it to 80%, but its supplied definition at 67% is quite adequate for many, many cases, and was only a little less good). Every single note I wanted cut-back in this score is cut back in that way, with a visible portato marking. This movement is completely phrased (the “staccato” dots in two passage are Bach’s), and the result intensely satisfying. Take a listen and decide for yourself.
Published with permission, a rewrite of https://musescore.com/stephenm/prelude-a-minor by Stephen MacLellan (q.v.), to (1) fix its technical problems (2) explore and polish its substantial beauty at a more caring tempo (3) create anew while building on the same (4) serve as a lesson in fixing such problems/gestures. Most measure-designs retained; a few replaced as noted. Measures are 1-1 with the original.
The original, by its rhythm and gestures, reflects the influence and textures of all Baroque allemandes, but at a breakneck "virtuoso Baroque piano music" speed 2x too fast for such. Corrected here, faciliating occasional elaboration in 32d notes and typical allemande cadences and other gestures and "Bach hacks".
A major component of the work was recognizing patterns whose elaborations could be refashioned to mutually conform.
A few of the whole-measure notes of the canon were shortened by an eighth-note, otherwise nothing of it was changed in any way.
I have taken some contrapuntal liberties, viz., occasional interpretation of canon notes as functional ninths and unprepared minor sevenths, to provide harmonic/architectural interest where the canon suggests less interesting harmonic repetition.
Thanks to Timothy and Bob L. for catching bugs....