A Fugal Overture

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Gustav Holst began composition of A Fugal Overture in 1922, completing the full score in January 1923. Despite its name, the overture is not strictly fugal. It belongs to the era of neo-classicism, but apparently by coincidence, for Holst had not yet heard some of the Stravinsky and Hindemith works which set this fashion. The “fugal” subject is full of spiky crossrhythms – Holst grouped the eighth notes (quavers) of his 4/4 into a pattern of 3 + 3 + 2, thus giving a bar of three unequal beats. The piece is intense and exciting, and should make an important addition to the repertoire of the Concert Band.