Program Notes

This is the fifth in a projected series of 12 Fugues that I plan to write over my life, roughly one fugue every four years beginning in 2002. They are like entries in a stylistic journal, snapshots of my musical preoccupations. By re-imagining the fugal form each time, I crystallise my musical thinking down to its most technical, leaving poeticism to one side and allowing myself to abstract. Writing these pieces allows me to focus on pure form, within a broad conception of what a ‘fugue’ might be.

This particular fugue is slow, and unfolds within the most basic idea of the Baroque fugal form. A subject is presented, followed by a contrasting countersubject; two episodes expand and develop ideas lurking within the subject/countersubject pair; a stretto section layers subject statements; a coda brings the piece to an end. All the sections are distilled to their minimum length, and there are only two ‘voices’.