Fantasy and Fugue
Commissioned by Rockefeller Chapel
Written for Joey Brink, with gratitude and admiration
Duration: 6 minutes
When asked to compose for this remarkable instrument, my mind immediately took me to my childhood memories of attending church service. The distinct, repeated attacks of the bell in a rhythmically monotonous fashion serve as the foundation for this piece. Fantasy and Fugue is certainly more fantasy than fugue, in any strict sense of the word. The challenge for me was to utilize the absolute fullest capabilities of the instrument, while maintaining true to what my material could offer.
The piece begins with a brief introduction, a “tolling of the bells” of sorts, before officially beginning the subject of this quasi-fugue. The subject is made up of a quarter note melody that remains constant throughout the first section and serves as a thread throughout the work. The countervoice rhythmically upsets the beat and subtly creates an illusion of slowing down the centered quarter note theme. A short interlude of resonance allows the bells to breathe and ring out with space before the piece moves to a much more energetic and dense middle section. The original material emerges once again, now surrounded by multiple voices of chromatic counterpoint. The bells eventually fade in the distance as a reminiscent allusion to the fantasy that was.