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Program Note


for oboe and piano

by Reginald Bain

Images (2015), four short Bach-inspired movements for oboe and piano, was commissioned by oboist Rebecca Nagel. The work's pitch material was derived from the first eight fundamental ground bass notes of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (1741). As in Bach's fourteen canons on the same ground bass (BWV 1087), these notes are subjected to a wide variety of contrapuntal transformations—mathematical prisms if you will, that recast Bach's "series" in a twenty-first century light.

I. Chaconne 2:40
II. Partita
III. Canon 1:25
IV. Aria 2:44
D U R A T I O N : 7:44

The world premiere was given by Rebecca Nagel and pianist Phillip Bush on February 11, 2015 at the Sun of Composers: Contemporary Composers Respond to J.S. Bach multimedia event in Columbia, SC.

Credit: D-Kuru/Wikimedia Commons

J.S. Bach, BWV 1087, subject

In mathematics, if the function f   maps set X onto set Y is a transformation over a domain X, written

then the image of f   is defined as the set of all values f   can take as its argument varies over X. Analogously, the lines and harmonies in the work are images of Bach's subject.

Updated: February 23, 2016