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I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Lexicon No. 1 - 4th Movement - Fortitude

This the fourth movement of four of a composition for SATB Saxophone Quartet and Piano. It is commissioned by Louis Sinoff. I am calling the composition Lexicon No. 1 because each movement will be a musical definition of an interesting word. I envision that there will be many more "Lexicon" compositions in my future.

The word for the fourth movement is Fortitude. Its definition is "strength and determination." A passacaglia, with its repeating bass line, came to mind as being the perfect form to express the word fortitude.

The movement begins with an Allegro introduction of rising and falling non-triadic arpeggios and a rising syncopated motif before settling into the passacaglia theme. The passacaglia theme in the piano left hand is four measures long that suggests both g minor and Bb major simultaneously. Each variation adds intensity through dynamics, texture, harmony, rhythmic activity and articulation. The variations are as follows:
15-18 - one beat canon between the piano left hand and tenor sax
19-22 - countermelody in the piano right hand that suggests Eb major before ending in Bb major
23-26 - similar countermelody in Soprano and Alto Saxes
27-30 - new countermelody in piano right hand; Bari Sax joins in on the passacaglia theme
31-34 - more countermelody in the piano right hand; triplets becoming more dominant
35-38 - Saxes only; intense harmony with dissonance and resolution
39-42 - Harmony in the piano; saxes increase triplet activity
43-46 - Slower tempo and sixteenths take over in importance
47-50 - Similar to before; contrast in articulation between saxes and passacaglia theme; piano right hand up 8va
51-54 - Unison FF restatement of passacaglia theme

The movement ends with two measures of Brilliante in G major.

After composing this movement, I decided to create a poem to go along with it. Here it is:

Strength rises from within
Chakras of energy emanating
From my soul to my halo
And back down again
Forces of motivation
Recede into quiet determination

A guiding principle forms
Soon echoed
In the silences of my mind
A four-measure mantra
Steadfast to outside influences

Complimentary countermelodies
Tease with temptation
Blending in and out
Of my unfaltering fortitude

Triplets intensify their efforts
Persuading elaboration
Of my basic stand
To emphasize our similarities
And not our differences

Desperate rapid utterances
Scream over my firm voice
To no avail

A unison proclamation
Emerges from the chaos
To celebrate the unwavering power of
A lone voice in tune with the universe

Below is the transposed score and sampled sounds in video format. Your comments are always welcomed.

Dr. B

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