Nick Fletcher :Crossing The Rubicon
Updated: Apr 17
Crossing The Rubicon
Les Productions D’Oz: 7 pages
Reviewed 5th June 2019
The title here refers to the composer happening upon a strangely addictive sounding bi tonal idea with an odd metric rhythm, and then and there deciding that he had to carry on with it , that there was no going back and so the piece was given birth to in that style. As he states in the Preface, it became a piece with bi tonal and polytonal harmonies and rhythms inspired by the music of Eastern Europe.
The harmonies throughout are definitely unusual but manage to keep your attention throughout, and it starts with a Misterioso introduction with constantly changing time signatures. The block chords here are oddly harmonized , (and reminded me a little of parts of Holst’s Planets) , and certainly create an atmosphere of unease, intermingled as they are with some harmonics. Then the main Allegro Vivo section enters with its almost constantly moving sixteenth notes that introduce hammer- ons and pull offs and string crossings that, owing to the time signature changes, never have a consistent beat. This might make the piece sound horrendous but it is extremely compelling to play and the ‘strangeness’ of the harmonies disappears almost immediately whilst you try to get your hands around the ever moving ducking and diving arpeggio patterns with rhythms of 3, 4, 5 7, 10,and 11. This is a very clever piece that players of an intermediate and upwards technical arsenal will simply love getting their fingers around. Once again here is a great piece from this first rate writer.