Six songs without words – Set Fourteen
Song no.1 in G minor – Vivace (listen using the SoundCloud link below)
Song no.2 in B♭ major – Larghetto (listen using the SoundCloud link below)
Song no.3 in B minor – Lento (listen using the Soundcloud link below)
Song no. 4 in E♭ minor – Tempo di valse (listen using the SoundCloud link below)
Song no. 5 in G♭ major – Moderato (listen using the link below)
Song no. 6 in G minor – Andante con moto (listen below)
The first piece in the set reveals my organist background in its echoes of the Baroque Fantasia, but also my fondness for South America in some of the rhythmic writing.
Piece Two has a lengthy opening section which is dreamy and rich in harmonic twists. The main melodic idea is heard at the start – a gently rising scale with a hop at the top. The same shape announces the start of the middle section, but now at twice the speed and the hop becomes more of a skipping figure. The two hands take it in turns in imitative dialogue and as the climax approaches the music breaks off in silence and the piece returns to the more sedate music of the opening. Unusually, this yields to a long dreamy coda section in G flat major and when the piece finally returns to the home key a distant memory of the main tune is head in each hand.
Piece Three revisits the 10/8 (as two quintuplet groups) metre, first used in SWW1.6. Here, in a minor key, the effect is grey and brooding, and towards the end powerful and stormy. In between there is a more elegant Chopinesque passage in A♭ major (still in 10/8).
Piece Four, in a verse and refrain structure, is an unusual combination of waltz (verse) and gavotte (refrain). Towards the end the latter seems to suggest Tchaikovsky. After a lyrical fifth piece in the set Piece Six travels through a range of emotions but ends confidently in the tonic major.