Harpsichord - Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Joseph Dillon Ford. 20th Century, Neo-Classical. Score. 7 pages. Published by David Warin Solomons (S0.431585).
Item Number: S0.431585
A dramatic, richly polyphonic work in late baroque style comparable in scope to the suites of Bach and Handel.
The Partita in D Minor is a six-movement work which clearly evinces the influence of Bach and Handel, although no identical dance sequence is found in either of the baroque masters' keyboard compositions.
The movements are:
1. Sinfonia [4/4, d, M+]
The sinfonia, in the French style, was conceived as a majestic façade for the work as a whole.
2. Sarabande 1 [3/4, d, M+]
The first sarabande is alternately impassioned and pensive. Ford counts it among his best essays in the baroque style.
3. Sarabande 2 [3/4, d, M+]
In contrast to the first sarabande, the second manages to achieve an almost cheerful disposition during its second half, which terminates with a tièrce de Picardie.
4. Bourrée [2/4, d, M]
The bourrée is an animated dance distinguished by an economical two-voice texture.
5. Lamento [2/2, d, M]
The enigmatic lamento is a curiously irregular movement to which the composer attaches an ominous symbolism, as it was written only weeks before the death of his father in 1981 (note the overtly unsettling chain of fifths in the upper two voices in mm. 2-3).
6. Inventio [9/8, d, M]
The concluding inventio was originally a project for Ford's first counterpoint class (1973). Its stylistic authenticity so impressed his teacher that she exclaimed in class "it sounds exactly like Bach!"
Indeed, it would be easy to take this two-voiced miniature as Bach's, a fact which does not seem to disturb Ford in the least:
"Much of my music sounds like it was written hundreds of years ago, but the whole point is really to say that the conventional notion of time itself is illusory, as is the process of adjudging art good or bad depending on whether it is 'old' or 'new'. Most composers have been conditioned by lots of nonsense about finding their own voice. I'm more interested in finding the voices most appropriate to what I have to communicate musically, not in staking out some petty claim in the cultural landscape in an attempt to assert my stylistic territoriality. To thus limit oneself self-consciously to the here and now is as absurd as trying to sculpt in only two dimensions. Just as visual artists take the whole of space as their domain, so must composers be at liberty to explore and celebrate the whole of historical and psychological time."
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