Fantasia - Homage for piano in D minor, Op. 17

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page one of Fantasia - Homage for piano in D minor, Op. 17

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Fantasia - Homage for piano in D minor, Op. 17


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Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
9 minutes
Modern classical music
License details
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This piece for piano is dedicated to my wife Sandra in celebration of our wedding anniversary. The piece is in fantasia form. The opening theme has a Schubertian cut - it originates, with variation rather than directly, from impressions on listening to the Reliquie sonata which, in the context of my piece, is a deliberate programmatic element. From this initial seed (as well as the second theme, representing Sandra) the rest of the work is generated. My objective was to produce a substantive Romantic piece and to continue my exploration of single-movement larger scale pieces already begun with the Variations for Quartet Op. 9 and the fantasia ?From the Gilgarran Hills? Op. 10, also for quartet.

In this new piece I have tried to combine lyricism and logic, the former by increased expressive piano vocabulary (I have studied scores by Brahms, Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert and Schumann as preparation for writing my music) and the latter by way of a fantasia form more tightly constructed than used by me in previous cases. As might be remembered from my quartet fantasia "From the Gilgarran Hills", the construction of such piece was deliberately less self-consistent. There were a number of new ideas and turns of material presented as a programmatic series of connected episodes. Here, I have tried something different. Basically, there are two themes: the opening in D minor and the second more flowing theme in D major representing Sandra. What I tried to do is to build the rest of the piece based on those two themes, so that the work has more unity. Even the fugato section that concludes the development has a theme that is based on the second subject of the exposition.

The whole piece is not in conventional sonata form, unless one takes this definition in the loosest possible way. There is an exposition, but the second subject is in the tonic major rather than in the relative major, and the codetta goes back to D minor to prepare for the repeat. The repeat is optional. The development combines free fantasia traversing various keys and a fugal exposition leading to a significant raise of tension and the presentation of the only "new" theme in the piece - even that derives loosely from the opening theme, however. The recapitulation is emphatically introduced and is too different from the opening material to be considered a simple reprise, as the material is significantly varied and in its impulsive mood it definitely propels the major key rather than restoring the tonic. The coda is a little section in its own right, and launches the ending of the piece in a cheerful presto mood (initial sketches had a slow, sad ending based on the opening at this point).

Overall I hope that the listener will enjoy this piece with or without the above technical considerations, especially Sandra, for whom I wrote this music.

Performance note: The repeat at the end of the expository section can be played as indicated but can also be omitted.

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