Henry Purcell

Fantasia in D minor


About this work

A leap of a fourth characterizes the opening theme of this contrapuntal masterpiece. The theme and its inversion are stated immediately at the beginning, so that rising and falling fourths are heard in all voices within the first few bars. Alteration of this theme produces a secondary theme with a winding chromatic line which opens with the leap of an octave, so that wide leaps and rich chromatic harmonies are heard throughout. A pulsing theme opens the suspension filled slow section. This theme is also characterized by a leap of the fourth. The lines float in smooth polyphony, with the pulses and syncopations providing impulse to the independent imitative lines. The brisk movement also has a theme that begins with the leap of a fourth. It's theme is full of energy, with a variety of rhythmic values, including rushing sixteenths that answer one another in the different voices. The rhythm broadens out to quarter and half notes in suspension for a smooth transition to the slow section that closes the fantazia. The last four bars are full of majestic dotted rhythms and suspensions and rich harmonies.