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Stephen Brown: Compositions

Eight 18th Century Suites

(2004)
A collection of Eight Suites in Baroque style in the keys of G minor, E Minor, D major, A minor, G major, D minor, F major, and B minor. The number of movements in each suite suites varies from four to six.

"For a number of years I have been designing examinations for the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto and the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Victoria, British Columbia. Quite a few of these examinations have required questions in two-voice 18th century counterpoint. These questions have been in dance style, with each dance being approximately 16 - 24 measures long, or they have been a short piece to measure the candidate’s ability to write invertible (double) counterpoint.

Rather that let these compositions lie idle, I have assembled the dances into suites. The suites are Baroque in style, but they do have their oddities. Because the movements were written as examinations questions first and assembled into suites afterwards, the order and type of dances within the suites do not follow the traditional suite sequence. However, all but one of them manage to end with a gigue. Also I have called the invertible counterpoint movements a “Double”, not referring to a variation of a previous movement, but to the invertible counterpoint found in the music. In keeping with Baroque practice I have left dynamics, tempos, and articulation up to the discretion of the performer. I have added a few ornaments, but certainly, substantial liberty by the performer may be taken when embellishing this music.

These dances will serve both as instructional pieces in writing two-voice counterpoint, and as performance material for the junior to intermediate musician."

Duration: "Heaven only knows. There are 41 short dances and most of them have repeats. Some day I may add the timing of them all up."

Swan House Victoria SJB 1311
64 pages, $15.00