Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund

 

Fantasia, Adagio and Fugue in F major - (1995)     

for organ


Commissioned by the Association of Anglican Church Musicians

 

The Association of Anglican Church Musicians had asked for a concert piece to be debuted at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades, with James Walker, organist and choirmaster at All Saints Church, Pasadena, as soloist. For this, I was given freedom to write as and what I wished. I chose an extended classic form, well-known to church musicians for this commission, and James Walker debuted with the requisite masterful virtuosity.

 

The opening improvisatory gesture in the pedal outlines multiple thirds, which becomes the motivic material for the adagio and fugue themes as well, in order to unify the work. It is marked "quasi una cadenza" for the performer, and in the mid section of the fantasia the opening flair gives way to a more sedate but strict double canon over a long pedal F, ending the fantasia with this cadenza like material yet again.

 

 

   Demo excerpt of opening gesture to measure 15 - MP3 file [ 857 KB, 54" ]

 

The adagio takes the improvisatory opening thirds, and sings a cantabile which extends the opening gesture into a melodic whole. A D pedal, in the relative minor to F major, carried throughout the adagio, tying some of the chromaticism to the relative minor's tonic.

 

 

   Demo excerpt of adagio, measures 60-67 - MP3 file [ 518 KB, 33" ]

 

The fugue subject also relies on the opening cadenza for pedal, this time extended into a different yet related melodic shape wherein the second recurrence of the thirds motif is shifted rhythmically for the second phrase and then at measure 136 the same intervals are spelled out in rhythmic diminution to unify the fugue subject, wholly related to its sister themes which preceded it.

 

The overall structure of the fugue is a large "meter" of five pulses, broken down into alternating 3/4 and 2/4 measures for ease of reading. The subject, with the pick up note, therefore is made up of four phrases of five pulses, for a composite eight measures of regularly alternating meter. This structure is maintained throughout the fugue.

 

 

    Demo excerpt of fugue, measures 131-150 - MP3 file [ 1 MB, 1' 04" ]

 

As the work was meant as a concert piece, it ends with an extended coda of long chords and one final restatement of the fugue subject at measure 210, recalling the opening cadenza for pedal but this time occurring in octaves in the right hand.

 

 

 

   Demo excerpt, measure 205 to end. MP3 file [ 1.07 MB, 1' 08" ]

 

[ Total duration - 16 pages, 14' 20" ]

 

The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this organ score.

 

Fantasia, Adagio and Fugue in F major