A Fugal Overture, Op. 40, No. 1

  • Holst, Gustav
Detailed Instrumentation: 2+1.2+1.2+Bcl.2+1: Timp.Perc(2): Str (9-8-7-6-5 in set) (alt. 1+1.1+1.2.2: Str)
Duration: 5

Gustav Holst (1874-1934) began composition of A Fugal Overture in 1922, completing the full score in January 1923. Despite its name, the overture is not strictly fugal. It belongs to the era of neo-classicism, but apparently by coincidence, for Holst had not yet heard some of the Stravinsky and Hindemith works which set this fashion. The “fugal” subject is full of spiky cross-rhythms. Holst grouped the eighth notes of his 4/4 into a pattern of 3 + 3 + 2, thus giving a bar of three unequal beats, creating an intense and exciting work. This piece premiered on May 14th, 1923 in London by the British National Opera Company, Eugene Goossens conducting. 2+1.2+1.2+Bcl.2+1: Timp.Perc(2): Str (9-8-7-6-5 in set). This work may also be performed with Piccolo, 1 Flute, 1 Oboe, English Horn, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones ( I and III), and strings.


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