’Dodecaphonic Prelude and Fugue’ came spontaneously into being in July ‘20 towards the end of the global lockdown brought about by the COVID‐19 pandemic. It was a compositional challenge I posed for myself to create a piece based entirely on mathematical structures shaped by the twelve‐tone technique (also known as ‘dodecaphony’). It is a technique which I have not used in over 15 years.
For me, dodecaphony, being totally free of the gravity of a tonal language, is at once liberating but with an element of ‘soullessness’ to it. One loses the sense of a ‘tonic’ base and the harmonic and melodic gravitation it holds. Yet – using a familiar and ‘tonal’ form of the prelude and fugue, the human ear can find (or perhaps wants to find) the base, the tonic and familiar tonal triads to gravitate towards. The experience has been truly liberating and, at the same time, surprising for me.
The piece is based strictly on a planned structure and was written simultaneously in two versions: for solo piano (dedicated to Carl Petersson) and solo guitar (to Vojin Kocic).