"[This CD] is devoted to Pelosi’s 37 Inventions, Canons and Fugues: Variations on a Single Motif for Piano, a major work of more than an hour’s duration. The present work is in five parts, the first four of which are comprised of nine pieces each, followed by a finale that acts as the apotheosis of the work. The work is structured so that the earlier movements are weighted towards inventions, with fugues predominating at the end. The frequency of the canons is constant throughout the first four sections, each of which contains three. Each form traverses the 12 tones of the chromatic scale, as much as possible mirroring the structure of the motif out of which the entire work springs. Proportionality even shows up in the metronomeRead more markings throughout the work. Other than the finale, all of the inventions are mostly in two voices, as are the canons in parts 1 and 2. In parts 3 and 4, the canons shift to three voices, and the fugues progress from two voices to four. Part 5 joins a three-part invention with a double canon and five-part fughetta.
Pelosi’s style is immediately recognizable in the harmonic structure of these works, but they go somewhat beyond most of the other pieces under review here in terms of strict contrapuntal writing. The tonality is very free, but with occasional verging into tonal chords or unisons, and some of the movements are fairly firmly ensconced in a particular key center. One example is No. 21, where the key center is E?. Texturally, there is a good deal of variety in these pieces, too, particularly because of the number of voices involved from one piece to the next. Obviously, a work of this sort allows its creator to demonstrate his craftsmanship, and Pelosi does so very convincingly. Even Hindemith in his much-admired Ludus Tonalis did not exceed the skill that Pelosi brings to this work. Pianist Donald Isler fully meets the considerable technical and musical challenges of the work, and skillfully varies his touch to the various moods evoked herein...
In short, Louis Pelosi is a remarkable composer, and if his music doesn’t touch you, I’d be very surprised. Recorded sound is exemplary, too."
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