Follies, Flights and Fugues


Follies, Flights and Fugues -  (2010)    

for viola and piano


The European tradition over centuries has included "la folia," researched back to over three centuries ago. A site called "La folia - a musical cathedral" offers a comprehensive study and listing of the phenomenon which I found most appealing. I learned of this site through Elaine Fine's often entertaining blog, Musical Assumptions.


The setting for viola and piano opens with the lowest open string of the viola, and sets by this the key signature for the work. Two repetitions of the harmonic pattern with a viola melody above begin the variations. The title I chose for the work, Follies, Flights and Fugues, refers to the initial meaning of "la folia" as a kind of folly, with flights shown as caccie, and with incomplete fugues as the longer-lined contrapuntal side to these variations.




The first of the "chases" begins in the viola followed by two voices in the piano, separated by a measure's duration. The three phrases mimic lightly the harmonic change from minor to major as is a feature of "la folia." Thereafter, another truncated variation of the theme commences for another "folly" after a "flight."




The first of the fugue subjects begins in the relative major, a statement with its accompanying voice in the viola. At measure 211 the viola takes up the subject in thirds with the piano, as the accompanying voice is assigned to the bass line.



Another truncated and aggressively down-bowed reference to "la folia" leads to a second short fugal section in the tonic minor, in response to the first fugue subject's reliance on the relative major. The work reprises several variations in foreshortened successions to bring the setting to a close.


  [ 12 pages, circa 7' 20" ]  


An MP3 demo:


The score for the Follies, Flights and Fugues (2010) 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 piano-viola score and separate viola part.


Follies, Flights and Fugues

full score 8½x11


Follies, Flights and Fugues

viola part 8½x11