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Cave of Mirrors, Prelude and Fugue, Dave McKeown

Dave McKeown on January 22, 2012 09:34

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    Here is a Prelude and Fugue I've written for saxophone quartet. For those of you not familiar with the format, that's soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and I'm playing them all on this recording.
    This music was written for the http://returntostyx.com/ project created by David Stuart, aka Archimedes. This is an exciting collaborative novel with contributions in text, music and image by all sorts of talented people here on Soundcloud and from elsewhere. It's a fascinating process seeing how people have interpreted the brief and brought their own creativity to bear on the project.
    When David mentioned the "Return to Styx" project the first thing that came to my mind was Handel's amazing Baroque operas in which the Underworld was a common theme. It's difficult for us to imagine the incredible impact a Handel opera would have had on the audience of the day. There would have been no CGI or amplification or indeed, much acting or scenery. But Handel knew how to convey very real human emotions in his exquisite music, and that's what theatre-goers would have felt as they concentrated on the performers. That's why I decided to write this piece in a Baroque style....not as an attempt to capture any of the passion and artistry of Handel because that's an impossibility.... but to pay my respects to that first emergence of the personal and vulnerable voice in musical theatre.
    For those of you interested in this sort of thing, I originally planned the first movement as a Toccata, but it's not quite long or difficult enough to justify that title, so I've settled for the less ambitious Prelude. The Fugue is in 4 equal voices, with two main themes heard together in counterpoint at the beginning of the movement, before being developed around the ensemble in various keys and combinations. The Prelude is principally in D minor, but the main key in the Fugue is F Major. The Fugue's coda however modulates back to D minor, bringing the piece to a close with the same harmonic sequence as in the Prelude .

    I took the picture in a cave carved out of the ice in a glacier in the French Alps

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