About this work:
Commissioned by The Hudson Valley Philharmonic for their first "New Wave" series, with Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground as guest guitarist, and Tom McCoy as synthesizer soloist, this piece makes use of my new [at the time] Yamaha SY 85 synthesizer as well as a rock combo & classical chamber orchestra. Conductor Randall Craig Fleischer premiered the work February 11, 1994 at Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY.
What follows are the original program notes, analysis and acknowlegedments:
When the call came from Maestro Fleischer for a new work for this series, I thought it opportune to compose for my newly acquired synthesizer, the Yamaha SY 85, hence the title.
The Concerto/FantaSY is typical of my style: a blending of clear cut melodies with sometimes searing dissonances, highly complex metamorphoses of instrumental tone colors, and a multiplicity of overlapping rhythmic patterns. Formally it follows my aesthetic of creating a work which sounds fresh, spontaneous... to quote Alexandr Skriabin, "the best compositions (& performances) are those which sound like the finest improvisations." Thusly it is highly rhapsodic in character.
Cast in ABCB form, the A section is a bold, athletic working out of a melody conceived November 25, 1981, and used here for the first time. Just about every player is given the opportunity to weave in and out of the ensemble and play a few solo phrases, but the SY 85 is given pride of place. Running head-long into the B section, we find ourselves in the midst of a lyric interlude which begins lightly and sparkly, but gives way to deep, very dark colors. The C section is cast over a constantly repeating pattern in the bass (which occasionally swims its way up to the higher voices). The vibraphone plays its own, separate pattern of five notes which, after every seven beats of silence, revolves its order, ie: 12345, 23451, 34512, etc. Over that is a third, separate element, a set of independent variations which culminates in a wiry solo for the SY 85 playing its melody four times: a) backward (retrograde), b) upside down (inverted), c) upside down & backward (inverted retrograde), and lastly(!) d) forward. With this climax we come back to the B material which now reveals itself to be more structurally significant than mere interlude fodder. With a roar from the brasses crowning all that has gone before it, the music, like water, finally seeks its own level and retires darkly, still-ly.
I would like to thank all of my friends for continuing to come out and support my music, and for this project in particular: Phil Petruzelli of Practical Solutions, George Calabrese, Steve Crodelle, Joe Broun, Gary Banks, & Mike Coughlin for their technical help with my computer, Josh Valleau for proofing, Vincitore's Piano & Organ, The Alps Sweet Shop, Beacon, NY, Sheila & Sarah for their patience, Caroline, Keith, Karen, & Nannette at the HVP, Ralph Guzman, Tony De Paolo, & Sylvia Suzowski for their musical input, Harrison Libby for his FAX, Allison Craig, Howard Grapper & Todd Leland at Maar Printing, and Maestro Fleischer for this evening's opportunity to present a new work.
Year composed: 1993
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 10+ players
Instrumentation: 1 Piccolo, 1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 English Horn, 1 Clarinet, 1 Bassoon, 1 Horn in F, 1 Trumpet, 1 Bass Trombone, 1 Tuba, 1 Timpani, 1 Percussion (General), 1 Vibraphone, 1 Drum Set, 6 Violin, 1 Viola, 1 Cello, 1 Double bass, 1 Electric Bass, ,1 Electric Guitar soloist(s), ,1 Synthesizer soloist(s)
Instrumentation notes: The flute doubles piccolo and the oboe doubles english horn. The string strength is a minimum number; ideally it would be at least double.