Orefici Melodic Studies

Orefici's Melodic Study #11, "Galactic Etude." Teaching by Terry B. Ewell about the multidimensional aspects of the etude. Also, an alternative ending is performed in this video. BDP #338. www.reed.net.

[Music: Orefici’s Melodic Study #5, performed by Terry B. Ewell]

Well, as you can see, I am not on the Recital Hall Stage at Towson University. The Covid 19 Corona virus has now sequestered me now in my home. I am no longer allowed access to the campus. This may be for several weeks.

Orefici number 11 is a very strange etude. It reminds me of a passage from one of C. S. Lewis’s books, which is out of his Space Trilogy, his science fiction literature. In the particular passage you have Ransom, who is the character constant through all of the novels in the trilogy, he is in a room and he is visited by an angel or a spirit from another planet. At this moment he notices that the angel and appearance is at a slant, at an angle. He is out of sync with the present world. The other dimension is not aligned with or at right angles with our present world. Ransom then makes the observation that actually the thing that was out of kilter is where he was. Earth and this reality, as it were, is out of kilter with the rest of the universe that is aligned in a different way.  At that moment he had the awareness of his present alignment and this other alignment that should have been.

This etude reminds me of that too because we have an etude that is out of alignment. This is the only one of the twenty etudes that when it returns at the recapitulation at the return of the A form, it is not going back to the tonic. The etudes are A-B-A in form. The opening we have B flat major. However, when it returns in the second A section, it is apparently in F major. So, it is off in bizarre tangents. For instance, in measure 42 it takes off in a key that is not in relation to F major or B flat major. Then in measure 58 it goes off on another tangent. The way that he has written it, it ends up in G minor. However, it does not end on G, the tonic of G minor, but on B flat. B flat is the tonic where it should have ended.

So, I put together a re-written passage that aligns this etude to terra firma (earth) in B flat, in that key. Then you can hear a contrast with the way that Orefici has written it. This is off kilter, with things aligned for another dimension. Orefici’s way of looking at it is a lot richer if you hear it in both B flat major and G minor at the ending with this tension between what is now and what could be.

[music: alternative ending to Orefici 11, aligned to B flat major]

[Music: Orefici’s Melodic Study #5, performed by Terry B. Ewell]