Freddy’s Dead

Freddy’s Dead is based on the theme of J. S. Bach’s Musikalisches Opfer. It shares some of his construction methods: inversion, retrograde, retrograde inversion, etc. These techniques were resurrected by serialists such as Schoenberg, upon whose death the fun- loving Boulez remarked that “Schoenberg is dead”.

Most of this piece is derived from the third movement of the Musical Offering’s Trio Sonata, which has been sped up several times, squeezed into downbeats (bass clef) or offbeats (treble), and generally mutilated, while a very slow version of the theme cycles alongside, with all its intervals rising. This pair of ideas—short notes fast and jumpy, long notes slow and steady—works its dogged way through the instruments, with a few brief respites, until it’s about time for a coda.

Freddy’s Dead was written for Soundstreams, and is dedicated with affection and respect to its Artistic Director, Lawrence Cherney.