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Thread: Your favourite pieces based on a single idea

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    Default Your favourite pieces based on a single idea

    I'm fascinated by Bach and Liszt in the way they use one or two melodic ideas to make an entire long piece e.g. The Art of Fugue or Sonata in B minor (you know which one I mean). Which other composers/pieces do this well?

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    Berio Piano sonata -- the single idea is called B flat




    Christopher Tye's Sit Fast, where the idea is the antiphon miserere mihi Domine, een exaudi orationem meam


    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-19-2020 at 20:54.

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    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    Mozart's Requiem is a kind of a cyclic mass, with the Lutheran hymn motif, “When My Final Hour is At Hand” (D-C#-D-E-F) permeating the entire work. (This is how we know; Mozart's sketch of the Amen fugue ,which was discovered later, was actually intended for the Requiem, and not other works like Kyrie in D minor K341.)

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Of course, virtually all of Bach's music does this. But I always felt that Sibelius was one of the greatest masters at integration of musical ideas. Take the first movement of the 2nd Symphony- it starts with a sunny, pastoral, goodhearted drone tune which is then expanded into a sort of theme-and-variations/sonata-form hybrid. There are unifying themes, but you have to listen for them because they're concealed and expounded on so well. All within 8 minutes, too! And the whole 7th Symphony is centered around 3 simple ideas- an ascending C major scale, a lyrical woodwind phrase, and a tonic triad. Sometimes his music reminds me of a disassembled series of puzzle pieces or building blocks that Sibelius plays around with until he finds just the right combination of pieces to produce the perfect end result.

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    Senior Member RICK RIEKERT's Avatar
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    Sweelinck was a master at forging the two major keyboard genres of his time into an improbable unity: the monothematic ricercar invented by Andrea Gabrieli, and the wide-ranging, virtuoso “fancies” of the English virginalists. His famous Fantasia Chromatica is just one example among many.


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    Vivaldi wrote such a piece. This concerto for strings’ first movement develops the theme presented at the beginning brilliantly!

    https://youtu.be/_osW8MlQugI

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    Glinka - Kamarinskaya
    Gliere - Russian Sailor's Dance

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    RVW: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.

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    Senior Member Gallus's Avatar
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    Does the Hebrides Overture count?

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    No, The Hebrides has several themes and rhythmic ideas going for it.

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    Senior Member 20centrfuge's Avatar
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    Probably not what you had in mind, but I'd say Elgar's Enigma Variations.

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    Senior Member Pat Fairlea's Avatar
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    Rachmaninoff's Corelli Variations.

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