Fancy, Farrago and Fugue


Fancy, Farrago and Fugue - (2010)    

for clarinet quartet (3+1)


I came across some interesting recordings of clarinet ensembles, and, becoming enamored of the possibilities because of the great range of notes, dynamics and articulations, thought to add my two cents' worth to the repertoire for this genre. The quartet is composed for three soprano B flat clarinets and a bass clarinet in B flat, with the ranges for this work as shown below:



The "fancy" in the English tradition from the 15th century forward was essentially what we might today term by its earlier and more abiding term, fantasia. That it should lean towards entertainment, towards caprice as well as towards love made the term with little meaning throughout music history as a form, whereas "fantasia" is the form and title given to many works from Purcell and beyond. This "fancy" for clarinets begins with a close-harmony gestures introducing some light and chromatic accompanied melodies given to the various voices, beginning with the first clarinet as at measure ten and beyond.



The "farrago" - a term originally used in regards to mixed grains and indicating what we might call a hodgepodge, and which I chose to call this round -- takes up a round of three voices with a bass line which intentionally points away from the bar line, or perhaps to one not quite there. The conflicting turns and non-harmonic tones in the upper voices as the round carries on add that farrago to this quartet. The dotted quarter of the fancy becomes the half note for this section.



The fugue is straight-forward, modeled a little like a jazz tune but in "classic" and strict rhythm. Its built in syncopations and odd periodicity add to the fun of it, as other voices join in the chase. A return to the opening gestures as a look back conclude the work. The tempo of 66 now becomes the dotted half note, as an up-tempo, "in one" feeling for the fugue takes hold, with the return to the opening 6/8 being similarly related as before.



Circa 5' 45" - MP3 Demo


The transposed score and parts are as free PDF downloads, 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 score for this clarinet quartet.


Fancy, Farrago and Fugue - score


Fancy, Farrago and Fugue - parts