Opus 1009

Folk Fantasies (2005/13)

for Solo Violin, Percussion, and String Orchestra

  • Highland Ballad (Scotland)
  • Ceremonial (Nigeria)
  • Circle Dance (America)

Duration: 12 min.

Dedication: for Chloé Trevor

Publisher: Musik Fabrik

Performance materials available from the publisher.

Folk Fantasies (2005/13) is a concert piece inspired by folk traditions and is dedicated to Chloé Trevor. Although this work draws upon folk music styles, it does not quote or use any actual folk tunes or material directly. For each of the three movements, I began by composing an original tune indebted to that national style. Each movement of the work is then a simple arrangement in my own musical style of my “original folk tunes.” The formal and harmonic language of the work is very simple, direct, and uncluttered throughout, as is appropriate for folk music.

The first movement, Highland Ballad (Scotland), begins and ends with lyrical music. The middle sections contain settings of the basic melody—first presented over a bagpipe-like drone (with interjections) and then in a full harmonization.

The second movement, Ceremonial (Nigeria), combines a harmonic refrain along with a simple melody in the Nigerian/Yoruba folk style. As the movement progresses, the violin plays the role of a song-leader, adding increasingly impassioned countermelodies and textures over the basic refrains.

The third movement, Circle Dance (America), is jubilant—alluding to the songs of the Shakers. A basic rondo structure alternates the principal melody with contrasting excursions.