Six Songs Without Words – Set Twenty
Song number one in E minor – Larghetto (Listen using the link below)
The set begins with a ternary form piece in which the outer sections have something of a Baroque flavour with chromatic twists to the harmony and a sense of counterpoint. Nonetheless it is not long before some Latin cross-rhythms point to a more modern outlook. The middle section begins from an unexpected arrival on a warm, though quiet, C major and this warmth gradually increases through expanding texture, tonal twists and increasingly pianistic writing. On its return the original material also becomes enriched and builds to a powerful climax.
Song number two in G major – Allegretto (Listen using the link below)
As early as the second bar this elegant triple-time piece has a kaleidoscopic sense of chromatic harmony and a mellifluous air. The middle section in the mediant minor is characterised by two against three cross-rhythms and quintuplet turn figures in the melodic line. The rather wistful tune from this section returns in more confident guise as the codetta.
Song number three in G#minor – Poco allegro (Listen using the link below)
This song was written and recorded over two days in April 2020. The piece has an elegant flow, though is not without a wistful character. Interest is created by melodic lines appearing in both the treble and the bass and through various cross-rhythms along the way.
Completed and recorded on 15th April 2020, this song, in ternary form, has an intense, stormy music for the outer sections that seems to hint of both Brahms and the tango (an unlikely combination!) The more lyrical middle section offers a short period of respite.
Song number five in Eb major – Andante con moto (Listen using the link below)
This piece, finished and recorded on 18th April 2020, has a tender expressive character with long melodic lines and rich chromatic harmony. At time languid and at times wistful, the overall feel is warm and glowing, conveying a sense of beauty.
Song number six in E minor – Prelude and Fugue. Allegro (Listen using the link below)
With the dedicatee’s organist pedigree in mind the set ends with a short Prelude and Fugue and if this again harks back to a Baroque model there are some contemporary twists in the mix. The Prelude is in 5/8 with some changing emphases within the meter, and though the Fugue begins with a strict exposition, both tonality and texture go further than a Baroque model. The Fugue ends with a reference back to the opening tune of piece one in the set.