Prelude and Fugue for organ solo

One of my previous interests as a composer was to write works that explored older forms and procedures in newer ways. I designed the Prelude and Fugue in the traditional manner of Baroque composers. The Prelude acts as an introduction to the Fugue. The opening two measures present its main thematic material: a slow, descending line in the upper voices with an added pedal-point, supported by a more rhythmic, descending bass. These ideas develop and build, hinting at a tonal center of D.

The Fugue is played attacca and the subject is centered in D Lydian. The answer appears in Ab Lydian, the enharmonic raised fourth scale degree (G#) from the original mode of D Lydian. Conversely, D is the raised fourth scale degree found in Ab Lydian. This tri-tone relationship between the subject and answer forms the essential structure of the movement. The development of the subject involves the use of inversions, stretti, and motivic diminution. Nearing its conclusion, the movement modulates and ends in Eb major.

Composed for my mother, Katrine Aho, it was premiered by her 20 September 1987 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in¬†Quincy, Illinois.

organ solo
Date completed:
ca. 5:30

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