Sinfonias by Keaton Springfield is a compilation of ten, three-part inventions that reimagine Baroque compositional practices by incorporating styles and idioms from the Classical, Romantic and Contemporary eras. This work expands on Springfield’s earlier compilation, Two-Part Inventions, by embracing the creative whimsy of J.S. Bach’s keyboard Sinfonias, which were initially entitled Fantasiae. As with Bach’s Sinfonias, the short and fanciful compositions contained in this collection can be approached as etudes for advanced students or programmed on any recital.
Keyboard sinfonias are similar to Baroque fugues. They begin with a motif that develops throughout the piece, and they end with a tonal recapitulation of that main melodic idea. In contrast to fugues, sinfonias harmonize the melody from the beginning. True to form, Springfield’s Sinfonias are filled with catchy melodic motifs set with clean and colorful accompaniments.
Each piece contained in Springfield’s Sinfonias remains faithful to the original Baroque structure. However, many embody more modern compositional aesthetics with dynamic fluctuations of tempo, mood and character. The contrast between old and new is pivotal to this collection. Pieces that remain faithful to a Baroque spirit have no dynamic or articulation markings (Nos. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8), while those inspired by Classical, Romantic and Contemporary idioms are infused with more precise performance instructions (Nos. 2, 5, 6, 9, 10). Consistent with Baroque performance practice, each sinfonia can be transformed through interpretation. Students, performers and teachers are invited to add dynamics, vary articulations, and experiment with tempo in order to add a personal musical perspective to each piece. Though tempo indications have been provided in parenthesis for all pieces, they should be understood only as recommended approximations.