Prelude, Fughetta, and Allegro (2014)
Erik Simmons, organ
Duration: 6 min.
Dedication: for Steven Sørli
Publisher: Zimbel Press/Subito Music Corp.
Performance materials available from the publisher.
This piece is loosely inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude pour le Luth ò Cembal [Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro], BWV 998—a late composition seemingly intended for harpsichord, lute, or most especially lautenwerk (the “lute harpsichord”—apparently a personal favorite instrument of Bach). Prelude, Fughetta, and Allegro is dedicated to instrument builder Steven Sørli, whose work in resurrecting the lautenwerk (and especially the gut-strung clavicytherium/keyed lyre) has provided particularly suitable instruments for this sort of music.
The opening triple-meter prelude in Eb major is sunny and bright in character, with its arpeggiated textures evoking plucked strings. The spirit of the early Irish harp composer Turlough O’Carolan (1670–1738) can be felt particularly in this movement.
The fughetta begins in the relative minor (C), with a darker and more dissonantly chromatic character; however, it works through several keys to end in Eb major.
The concluding allegro returns to joyous mood of the opening movement (though its middle section returns to G minor).
This work may be played on any keyboard instrument. While the harpsichord and organ are most ubiquitous, it is (like the Bach) very suitable for the lautenwerk. Performance on clavichord, harmonium, reed organ, piano, or even electronic keyboard are also possible. Small (cue-sized) notes are provided for instruments which have a larger compass keyboard and are to be employed when available.
Equal temperament is neither expected nor required.