Federal Fantasia & Fugue

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First Prize Winner, Washington Recorder Society 50th Anniversary Composition Contest

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fugue sample

History and Performance Notes

cover artFederal Fantasia & Fugue was the first-prize winner in the Washington (DC) Recorder Society’s 50th Anniversary Composition Contest in 2013. It is an English-style fantasia inspired by those of William Byrd (ca.1540–1623), paired up with a Bach-style fugue in the Germanic tradition. The Fantasia also works well as a stand-alone piece suitable for a consort of Renaissance recorders, and a separate version is included in this edition. The Fugue is not suitable for Renaissance recorders because it goes out of range too frequently.

The Fantasia follows the Byrd model, beginning innocently with an easy melody and gradually getting more intense. Short melodic snippets are introduced in sequence, and the piece winds more and more tightly as the note values get smaller and the melodies overlap more closely. The main thematic material in the Fantasia includes:

motive 1 motive 2
motive 3 motive 4
motive 6 motive 5
motive 7 motive 8
motive 9  

The stand-alone version of the Fantasia ends in a G major chord; when paired with the Fugue, the Fantasia ends on a unison G in the lower three parts while the Soprano introduces the Fugue subject.

The Fantasia, performed at Foothill Presbyterian Church, San Jose CA, February 2013. Bona Speranza plays on a matching Renaissance consort of recorders by David Ohannesian of Seattle, WA.