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Toccare : Ricercar dopo una fuga dopo a morte

by Chris Williams (2017)

Work Overview

Toccare is the Italian verb 'to touch' from which we get the musical form 'toccata'. Ricercar, which means 'to search out', was applied to a number of different types of musical works, and often applied to an early form of fugue.

This piece seeks out - by touch - the remnants of a fugue, long after the death of its original composer Chopin. The original fugue was itself first published almost 50 years after Chopin's death, so the piece is twice posthumous, and the title seems to resonate perpetually back on itself, much like a fugue does.

Toccare begins by drawing out the individual pitches of the theme from Chopin's Posthumous Fugue, though over much longer periods of time. There is a tension between the fast articulation of the notes, and slow introduction of new pitches from the theme and the long resonances of the instrument.

Though in a very different way to the original fugue, an interplay between the pianist's hands is essential to Toccare as it for Chopin. Chopin's fugue is also utilised in Toccare in a number of other ways, with fleeting moments of borrowing, and an eventual imitative sequence on an inverted form of Chopin's theme. Also exploited throughout is Chopin's characteristic musical geometry, the use of 3rds for the purpose of chromatic modulation and progression.

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — technically demanding and virtuosic

First performance: Sep 17. ANU School of Music, Canberra ; performed by semi-finalists of the Australian International Chopin Competition

The composer notes the following influence associated with this work:

Winner of the Composition Prize of the Australian International Chopin Competition.



Semifinals Of The 3rd Australian International Chopin Competition, 10-17 Sept. 2017. Shaun Choo, 3rd Prize, Best Scherzo and Best Ballade Awards.


Performances of this work

15 Sep 2017: at Australian International Chopin Competition Semi-Finals (Llewellyn Hall ANU School of Music).

Sep 17: ANU School of Music, Canberra ; performed by semi-finalists of the Australian International Chopin Competition

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