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Fantasy on a tale : for wind quintet

by Wendy Hiscocks (1998)

Work Overview

Fantasy on a Tale was written in response to a commission from bassoonist Hugh Rosenbaum. Cast in a single movement, the work involves the characters of children, whose entry and exit are marked by a lively march, and a babushka-like figure who tells the two tales. She is not old but round, warm and jolly in character like the horn that depicts her. The two tales on which a fantasy is woven are based on illustrations. The first is a cartoon drawing of a boy looking at a beautiful spider in its web. He asks the spider for some thread to mend his trousers. In the story Babushka tells, the spider is a beautiful young girl with raven black hair and eyes, and the web is the beginning of the unseen threads of affection and bonding. The second tale is drawn from a picture of a Russian lacquer box painting inspired by Russian legends and fairy tales by the contemporary artist Palekh. The music focuses on a still, moonless night in a forest. The stars are shining and snow is falling. The great trees of the forest begin to stir and you hear the
arrival of three fiery steeds in full flight who are eventually drawn up into the night sky. They are magic horses, though, and Babushka tells the children that they will return while they sleep, to take them on a ride through the stars.

Work Details

Year: 1998

Instrumentation: Flute, oboe, clarinet in A, horn in F, bassoon.

Duration: 10 min.

Commission note: Commissioned by Hugh Rosenbaum.

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