Lyric Fantasy, for piano and string orchestra, is a work consisting of two contrasting, yet unified, movements linked by the intertwining of thematic material. My brief was to compose a melodic piece to contrast with more serious work by another composer. Performers at the Premier remarked on their enjoyment in performing the piece, owing to the way the melodies were shared among all instruments of the string orchestra as well as the piano.
Lyric Fantasy was premiered in Canberra in September 1999 performed by professional piano soloist, Colin Forbes, together with the Musica de Camera Orchestra.
The piece opens with an ostinato figure on the second violins. A chromatic melody is introduced over this by the first violins. The full string orchestra then re-iterattes this motific idea. After a dramatic tremelo on from the strings the piano soloist enters with a flourish adding colour to the returing theme, played by the string orchestra. The chromatic theme is once again developed, and a subtle shift to a new key is established. After an extended piano solo the string orchestra returns with an accompanying motif to the high piano melody. A lush, yet rhytmic section ensues and the melodic ideas are passed between the piano and the string bass. A return to the A tempo marks another sublte key change introducing a new melodic idea in the lower registers of the piano. The piece then builds to a soft climax concluding on F# and C#.
Once again we hear the melodic ideas from the previous movement, introduced here by the double bass. The piano enters with a light, staccato theme that is lushisly accompanied by the strings. A chromatic theme is once again developed with the piano playing repeated staccato notes as a counter melody the orchestral material.