Prélude et fugue sur le nom de Bach, opus 40 - Laurent Coulomb
PRÉLUDE ET FUGUE SUR LE NOM DE BACH
The Prelude and fugue is a tribute to the baroque musical forms glorified by J.-S. Bach. However, it's written in a free atonal technique.
Both parts of the diptych are united by several common elements. The B-A-C-H motif constitutes the shared material for the prelude and for the subject of the fugue, beside many other elements: the sixteenth-note sequence in the prelude is entirely built over the beginning of the counter-subject of the fugue and some pounding motives heard in the prelude reappear in the fugue. Finally, the opening of the prelude can be heard again in the coda, as a closing of the B-A-C-H transformation cycle.
The prelude is freely written as a long developing variation of the B-A-C-H motif, interrupted for a brief contrasting moment by a dreamy floating ribbon of eighteen notes. The fugue starts pianissimo at the same slow tempo, in a transparent setting, recalling the baroque style. However the musical flow gradually grows during the episodes, which are built as usual on fragments from the counter-subject and then from the subject itself. This leads to a violent fortississimo acme by the means of arpeggios and ostinatos. The piece thus ends with a quiet coda, and finishes with a discreet quote from the famous aria from the Goldberg variations.