C.55 - "Fugue in G Minor"

Composed: ~May 2014

     Ah, this fugue is my favourite I have written so far. Also written whilst at college, it is a triple fugue – the first of which to use what I would later deem (and abandon) as my ‘signature’ fugal subject. This 'signature' can be seen in the cello part of bars 10 – 12, with the simple 4-note figure. You should keep a lookout in other future fugues I wrote (I'm not sure if there are actually any, at least which were finished) for appearances of that 4-note figure.

     Nevertheless it is this 4-note figure, the opening subject, and the subject of the 2nd fugue that all return together in the coda for a triple fugue (I'm not sure if this combination satisfied the requirements – in fact, I am certain not, but hey, I tried!) before concluding on a cheesy Picardie third.

    I think this is the favourite of my fugues because of its counterpoint. While the counterpoint is not strict to Fuxian species counterpoint (I had not yet heard of it then!), it keeps the music in motion, constantly shifting through keys and reinterpreting the material that was given, and I think it worked successfully to some degree. The passage at bar 32 where one expects the harmony to return to F minor, but instead it is twisted into D-flat major, is wonderfully shocking and surprisingly seamless – I think that is my favourite moment of this piece. You will also instantly note the 4-note ‘signature’ subject returning multiple times in this second fugue, even giving it to each voice one after the other at bar 38.

     Nevertheless, by the time all three subjects are played at once, I did adjust the initial subject to make it fit, but to be honest, I think it still works even if I didn’t make the adjustment. So if for any obscure reason this piece finds itself being performer in the future, feel free to experiment by playing that segment without the adjustment, and see if you prefer it.

      I enjoyed this piece so much that I later refurbished it for my final composition portfolio as an undergraduate at the University of Surrey, fixing several of the counterpoint errors and generally polishing the part-writing. Though, there were more reasons for its inclusion in my portfolio than simply "I enjoyed it", but I'll get to that later.

Reminiscence written on 17th July 2016

Last updated: 20th October 2018

© 2019 Jonathan Shaw