Prelude & Fugue

Prelude & Fugue for percussion ensemble
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2024)
Composed: 2023
Duration: 6’45”
Difficulty: Medium-Difficult
Instrumentation (6 players): glockenspiel, xylophone, chimes, crotales (low octave), suspended cymbal, small tam-tam, large tam-tam, bongos, concert bass drum, snare drum (2), field drum (2), timpani (3), maraca, claves
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This two-movement work—a prelude for keyboard percussion and metal sounds and a double fugue with one subject for drums and the other for keyboard percussion—was scored using the same instrumentation, ensemble size, and equipment set-up as the three-movement “Toccata” for percussion instruments by Carlos Chávez.

Each movement of the Prelude & Fugue may be performed independently, the piece may be performed as a complete two-movement work, or the two movements may be used as bookends to the “Toccata,” creating a five-movement, twenty-minute work for percussion sextet.

The “Prelude” centers on an entrancing melody in the glockenspiel that wavers between major and minor, surrounded by metallic sounds from the ensemble and supported by timpani tonic downbeats. After two statements of this melody, an interlude of overlapping simple ostinati that divide the measure into different rhythmic subsections provides a fleeting interruption before the primary melody hesitantly, then more confidently returns, ending quietly with a single glockenspiel note.

The “Fugue” opens with a presentation of the rhythmic theme in the bongos, answered in the next phrase by the snare drum. This theme is developed briefly before the glockenspiel presents the melodic theme, answered in the subsequent phrase by the xylophone. After some development of this second theme, the two entities begin to mix as statements of one are answered with responses of the other, eventually building to a climax before quickly dying away. A peaceful conclusion that shifts seamlessly between the melodic theme of the “Fugue” and the primary melody of the “Prelude” brings the work full circle to its opening material.

Prelude & Fugue was selected for an Honorable Mention award in the 2023 PAS Composition Contest.