Back to top

2. Prelude and Fugue in C minor from Book 1




AND RECEIVE               Try speaking this in the rhythm of the opening of the Fugue subject

My journey of composing the Musical Remedies, a set of pieces matching the energies of the 38 Bach Flower Remedies, was essentially one of discovering and receiving emotional resonance. I did not set out with a project of something to achieve; indeed I really didn’t set out at all. I simply went to the piano and started improvising early one morning. When a clear melody emerged I sketched it down in the traditional way with pencil and manuscript paper along with a few chord symbols. I had no idea what it was or where it was going. As new melodies revealed themselves in the days that followed all I remember now is the clarity and the speed. When after nine days I saw the chart of the Bach Flower Remedies lying on top of the piano something clicked. I realised at a conscious level what I had been receiving in a different part of the brain. From what I understand now I might guess that what was happening was a heightened sense of hypnopompic awareness in which I was experiencing the clarity and creativity of that place between half-waking/half dreaming and being fully awake. But instead of lying in bed dozing I had been propelled upright and was sitting at the piano receiving these new melodies. The Musical Remedies are not at all radical musically; they are not at all avant-garde. They are for the most part tonal easily accessible music. Where they are radical is in their touching the roots of the emotional states associated with the Flower Remedies. At the time my knowledge of these emotional states was very sketchy - I knew Olive was for help with exhaustion and Gorse for help with feeling depressed and uncreative, but that was about all. The journey proceeded through the next nine months. I can remember the sense of urgency as the time went by - how I knew that it had to realised by the end of the year. What I did not realise at the time was how this process resonated so strongly with that of pregnancy and giving birth. The initial flood of energy, not knowing what was happening; the sudden realisation of what it was; the emotional ups and downs as the project grew and took clearer shape; the feeling stuck at quite a late stage; the rush of energy which finally resulted in the last five pieces being written down between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, just over nine months after the first morning at the piano. Maybe this parallel with pregnancy and giving birth is the clue to understanding the significance of emotional resonance. The thirty eight Flower Remedies seem to contain the full range of mental states, the full spectrum of possibilities, both negative and positive, and the full range of potential for transformation. When we think of Impatiens, the journey is from irritable tension to patience and empathy. With Clematis it is from daydreaming to a rooted creativity. These are just the first two of the Remedies that Edward Bach discovered. Their different but complementary qualities can be seen by the fact that they work together in the famous Rescue or Recovery Remedy..