Part IV {Fuga con Variazioni}

Part IV  {Fuga con Variazioni}


If we don’t occupy ourself with everything, 

then peaceful mind will have nowhere to abide.

~ Shen-hui


The fourth and final movement of this Zen Symphony is a recapitulation of the Orchestration and Energy principals from Part I.  As the subtitle suggests, it takes the themes from the Zen Prelude and envelops them in a dense, penetrating Fugue ensued by a set of five variations. 

In Part I, we applied all of the principles to a single page of Rachmaninoff’s C-sharp minor Prelude.  As every style demands special orchestration, I’ve chosen five stylistically contrasting works from the standard repertoire to examine and prepare, step-by-step.  Each will be taken through the 29 filters of Part I.  There will naturally be a certain amount of repetition and reinforcement, like a Second-year Foreign Language textbook.

If any of you have harbored concerns about whether these concepts apply as much to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Prokofiev as they do to Rachmaninoff, Part IV will alleviate them.  I will use examples from the gamut of the piano repertoire to show the universality of the concepts.  There are of course stylistic differences that affect the application of certain techniques, and these will be explored in detail.  I’ve chosen works that you may already have played, or with which you at least likely may have a strong familiarity.

As with Part I, read slowly and try to put each of the examples into your fingers.  Techniques are only abstract ideas until they’re put into actual use with your own two hands.  To understand and absorb the techniques, they have to enter your body and filter through you.  It may be helpful as you work through Part IV to re-read corresponding Essays from Part I.