C.8 - "Elder Fantasia"

Composed: ~April/May 2012

     Well, where to start with this one (as I hang my head in shame and embarrassment). Again, this was another piece constructed out of my obsession with Bach’s music, this time particularly his Fantasia in G Minor BWV 542, which I had not yet taught myself how to perform This was my longest work yet, and still holds some material that I actually find a likeness to as of writing this. Even in my arrogance of not knowing what a Fantasia actually was (the only knowledge I had was the music of Bach), I think there is some intriguing level of improvisation embedded within – although, most of my early compositions followed a similarly disconnected path.

     Nevertheless, I constantly swapped between slower segments and more virtuosic segments, matching Bach’s contrast of slow and fast passages for his Fantasia, and ultimately I combined this idea at the end for a very cheesy climax with surprisingly smooth but extreme modulations to get back into C minor. You will also notice that at the passage beginning at bar 96 there is a near-exact quotation from Bach's Fantasia.

     The reasoning of the title is something I should mention; as I was writing this, I had originally intended to compose one grand work for each of the Baroque styles, which I would give the forename ‘Elder’, much to my youthful arrogance again. As you will read, I thankfully never went ahead with any of the other ‘Elder’ works, at least not yet – I may have a look again when I can truly say I have at least some experience with these styles! I did, at one point, heavily consider writing an ‘Elder Fugue’, but ultimately I left this aside (for the greater good!)

     I do recall using this piece as a 'Practice Room' test in my earliest days at college (the UK equivalent of Junior/Senior High School) to test the acoustics and available hardware of the practice rooms at the Music department where I would write several of my compositions in the following two years. It is evidently not the best choice to run this test, but I nevertheless blasted it out through the speakers of each practice room, much to the confusion of any poor soul walking through the corridor just outside.

Reminiscence written on 6th May 2016

Last updated: 20th October 2018

© 2019 Jonathan Shaw