Prelude and Fugue
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Comments: Prelude and Fugue was composed in 1986 for Dorothy and Cary Lewis,
who premiered the work the same year. The two movements of this brief
composition are played without pause.
Though conservative and tonal
(the tonality of at least the beginning and conclusion is D Major), the
composition is nevertheless stylistically contemporary.
Suggesting the rhythms of the Baroque French overture, the Prelude
employs chromatically shifting melodies and triadic harmonies. The
opening theme begins in the cello's lowest register to the accompaniment
of harmonies arpeggiated in contrary motion by the piano. The roles of
solo and accompaniment soon reverse, and it may be observed throughout
both movements that the work features the two instruments equally. After
a more subdued middle section, the strong rhythms of the beginning return
and eventually lead directly to the Fugue. The fugue's subject initially is
an irregular repetition on one pitch (D) for eight bars of duple meter. Its
first two statements are given to the cello arco; the cello also plays the
counter-subject pizzicato. During the course of the piece, in which
statements band episodes alternate in the traditional fugal procedure, the
one-pitch subject gradually evolves into a melody in the original rhythm.
The climax of the movement is reached in a stretto on a harmonized
version of the original one-pitch subject. After a flurry of descending
scales and fragmentary suggestions of the subject the fugue ends with a
simple statement of the subject by the piano.
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