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TOM OWEN
Movement 2-  Brandenburg 3, JS Bach.
All Bach left us for the central movement of Brandenburg 3 are a lonely-looking pair of chords forming a Phrygian Cadence, presumably for improvising on. This struck me as a not particularly Bach-like-gesture: his instrumental music often features quasi-improvisatory moments, but they tend to be fully realised in the score. These chords, on the other hand, seem to welcome all comers.
Following the commission from Tom Davies to produce an entirely new movement, I set myself a few criteria: the content should be a total stylistic non-sequitur, so that Bach continues to be the sole inhabitant of his own musical realm. If the result seems blasphemous, consider a counterexample that patronises the Bach with pastiche, or familiar progressions used without Bach’s ingenuity. No parody is intended here, only a "plunge" into a completely foreign place.
The movement should still be fleeting, structurally still nothing more than a link between the weightier forms either side of it -the improvisatory feel should be retained.
Most importantly, the movement should still be a reflection on the Phrygian cadence, and indeed the Phrygian mode. At one point, Phrygian melodic figures from various tonal centres are superimposed. The end of the movement recalls the traditional cadence with a brief moment of clarity - and a slight twist.
List of works
Bust
Hut Ritual
Exhibition Suite
Triple Concerto
Fastener (Bra 3) (Plunge)
Prowl Routine
Sweet Suffolk Owl
Package 1a
Womb
What a Clarinet Sounds Like
Embankment Beach
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© 2015 Tom James, Tom Owen, Jenny Jackson & Chris Noble.
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Fastener (Bra 3) (Plunge)
Players and performances
Part of the Brandenburg Project 18-20 April 2013.
Violins
Violas
Cellos
Bass
Keyboard
Gavin Usher, Angela Hill, Emily Ross
Natalie Roper, Jess Jevon, Jenny Hicken
Charlie Hardwick, Natalie Halliday, Lucy Revis
Tom Davies
Tom Owen