For flute, guitar, and contrabass
Transmogrification was commissioned for a concert of new works inspired by Beethoven’s Große Fuge, Op. 133. When I first began brainstorming ideas for the piece, I was daunted by the task of imagining what could possibly follow a work as apocalyptic as the Große Fuge. That rhetorical question led me to start thinking literally about the fugues that have been written since Beethoven, especially the opening movement of Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, whose chromatic subject has many affinities with the Große Fuge. Transmogrification attempts a metafictional connection between these two pieces from different centuries. After the apocalypse of the Große Fuge, notes are floating in space freely, recombining occasionally in the memory of the Beethoven. As the piece progresses, a new gravity takes over, eventually coalescing in the opening of Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. In order to affect this process, every note is actually borrowed from the Bartók with very few exceptions, as well as the symmetrical form of Bartók’s fugal exposition, which I utilize backwards so as to end where Bartók begins.