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Nine fantasies about Brahms : for violin, cello and piano

by Andrew Ford (2010)

Work Overview

It is not very fashionable, but I love Brahms's music and find myself listening to it, looking at it and thinking about it a great deal.

This isn't new. I've been a Brahms obsessive, more or less continuously, since my teenage years. And back then it was even more unfashionable. When I was 18 or 19 and a first-year undergraduate, I composed a short duo for violin and cello, the score of which has long since vanished. I can't even remember the title of the piece, but I do recall that at one point the music settled on to a gentle rocking figure from the first movement of Brahms's Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor. It had not been my intention to quote it, it was simply where my musical imagination, or perhaps my memory, had led me.

In Nine Fantasies about Brahms, it was very much my intention to make explicit use of this same musical figure, not only to quote it, but to mine it for possibilities, most of which would have surprised Brahms himself. It is important to say that my piece is not a homage to Brahms, and it is certainly not an attempt to make a pastiche of his style. All nine 'fantasies' draw on aspects the first movement of Brahms's concerto, some more blatantly than others, and all have titles borrowed from Brahms's tempo and expression markings. But while Brahms might be my inspiration, the music is my own.

Nine Fantasies about Brahms was commissioned by Kathryn Selby for Trioz with financial assistance from the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. A few minor revisions were made and a completely new finale added in February 2013.

Work Details

Year: 2010

Instrumentation: Violin, cello, piano.

Duration: 14 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: 1. Grazioso -- 2. Subito animato -- 3. Maestoso -- 4. Dolce -- 5. Adagio -- 6. Tranquillo e dolce -- 7. Allegro appassionato -- 8. Moderato -- 9. Più animato.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Roger Smalley

Commission note: Commissioned by Kathryn Selby for performance by TRIOZ with funds provided by Australia Council. Music Board.

First performance: by Niki Vasilakis, Emma-Jane Murphy, Kathryn Selby at Full Circle (Chevalier College Performing Arts Centre) on 4 Sep 2010

Performances of this work

8 May 2013: at Sutherland Trio: Inspired by Brahms (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Sutherland Trio.

12 Sep 2010: at Full Circle (Elder Hall). Featuring Niki Vasilakis, Emma-Jane Murphy, Kathryn Selby.

9 Sep 2010: at Full Circle (City Recital Hall). Featuring Niki Vasilakis, Emma-Jane Murphy, Kathryn Selby.

8 Sep 2010: at Full Circle (Melba Hall). Featuring Emma-Jane Murphy, Niki Vasilakis, Kathryn Selby.

6 Sep 2010: at Full Circle (Albert Hall, Canberra). Featuring Emma-Jane Murphy, Kathryn Selby, Niki Vasilakis.

5 Sep 2010: at Full Circle (Turramurra Uniting Church). Featuring Kathryn Selby, Niki Vasilakis, Emma-Jane Murphy.

4 Sep 2010: at Full Circle (Chevalier College Performing Arts Centre). Featuring Niki Vasilakis, Kathryn Selby, Emma-Jane Murphy.

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