The music of

David Lumsdaine

The music of David Lumsdaine

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for large orchestra

to Tony Gilbert

One of the many ways in which one can think of traditional counterpoint, is to imagine the points produced by the attacks of the several voices, as points of a single melody exploring musical texture and musical space. It was an illuminating way for me to approach Bachian counterpoint, and my studies of it during the 1960s are reflected in much of my compositions at that time.

Episodes is the extreme example, being based on No. 8 of The Art of Fugue. Multiple transformations take the sound world a long way from JSB’s, though the subjects of the ricercar derive from Bach’s, and a ghost of the first fugal subject can be heard at the very end. There are 2 movements: a brief fantasia which unwinds many of the principal ideas very quickly, followed by a much longer second movement, a ricercar, which follows through, however unrecognisably, the four sections of Bach’s triple fugue. The work lasts about 21’.

It was composed during 1968-69, being finished at Shootlands, Surrey and was first performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Elgar Howarth at a BBC Invitation Concert, in London, 1972.