Symphony #4 in B minor (Gothic)
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James Domine - Symphony #4 in B minor (Gothic)
IV. Finale: Thema fugatum
The Symphony #4 in B minor by James Domine subtitled Gothic was completed in February of 2012 although sketches for the piece date from a considerably earlier period. Cast in four movements, Prelude, Toccata, Passacaglia, and Thema fugatum, the entire piece is based on a single theme that is used in various permutations throughout. The character of the piece in its entirety can be described as a mystical journey into an imaginary landscape that is at once curious, intriguing, beguiling, and sometimes frightening. The subtitle for the symphony derives from its relationship to the poem entitled The Gothic Ancestor which is given below.
The first movement was originally presented as Sonata #4 for piano solo and represents a fundamental working out of the principal melodic ideas contained in the work. In its symphonic form, the Prelude is a study in contrasting moods cast in the traditional sonata form. The second movement, Toccata, is a quasi-improvisational fantasy rooted in the harmonic implications of the main theme which is exploited in many contrasting juxtapositions and permutations. The Passacaglia is a tranquil unfolding of the main theme as hymn-like chorale that roams the harmonic realms like a phantom seeking refuge in a time and place long forgotten. The last movement, Thema fugatum as the title implies is a complex contrapuntal texture that weaves the main theme into a rich tapestry of sound that moves in an almost supernatural way to the symphony’s conclusion.
This music is dark and mysterious, but not obscure. A kaleidoscopic manifestation of harmonic transcendence, Emergent confluence of organic streams of melodious effervescence Streams of light colored by shifting shadows of towering spires, Stained glass reflecting cold stone edifices, a flowing delicate fragile filigree of gargoyles, airy spaces balanced in eurythmy, architectural buoyance, an intricate contrapuntal tapestry of flying buttresses, the peristyle an ever-revolving carousel of mythological characterizations, flowers of antiquity lie encrypted in silent majesty, disgorged from submerged catacombs, quiet haunted vaults, decaying rock-hewn crypt of memories long forgotten, deep wells of time long past watering springs of destiny, flowing in streams pure, immaculate, forbidden. Here the mind roams in seclusion, untethered, unrestrained. Recollection resonates in reminiscence, a rhapsodic reverie Rocky redoubt redolent with reverberations of rancorous violence, Revenge, vituperative vehement vicious and venomous that long ago subsided like the receding tides of a tsunami, tidal waves of sacred, soul-wrenching oblivion. Secrets never revealed, romance of love unrequited. Echoes of militant exploits unfulfilled beguile the parapets of this imaginary edifice. Only when lightning flashes are the broad outlines of the ruined cathedral visible, like a song never heard or a story untold, the stone-cold fossilized vertebrae of a fallen titan, a warrior king whose bones are bleached white, a monolith of polished marble jutting starkly out of a jagged cliff, a hollow chasm stretches like the gaping jaws of a dinosaur, wide open empty space looms below in unfathomable wonder. The path before us winds through a labyrinthine tangle, a symphony counterbalancing a juxtaposition of quandaries, a conundrum of philosophical ambiguities, of vagaries, of delusions and fantasies, of concealment and revelation, the ever-changing face of ineffable contradiction, the irreconcilable majesty of inevitable immutability, the bemused feminine smile of fatal fortune awaits…