Capricious Fantasy

for solo piano

The score of this piece can be purchased from Sheet Music Plus.
A performace of Capricious Fantasy by Michael Tsalka can be heard on YouTube.

In 2013 Michael Tsalka, who was organizing a piano recital to commemorate the Classical Bohemian composer Johann Baptist Wanhal, asked me to compose music that is directly related Wanhal’s music. What I decided to do was weave some of the motives Wanhal uses in his Capriccio No. 3 into a more modern pianistic environment. While the pitch relationships and rhythms of the motives often remain recognizable, the style of their expression and development is radically different. Like a capriccio, the mood and expression often changes in this piece, sometimes even bordering on Romantic expression, but there are also steady flowing passages of overlapping note groupings that relate more to recent minimalism than to Classical or Romantic music.

Capricious Fantasy begins with the repetition of four chords that were derived from notes used in one of Wanhal’s melodic motives. New melodies based on that motive then enter with different phrase lengths, creating a gentle dialogue of independent voices. Eventually, another faster idea from the same capriccio is introduced, but it first appears as slowly and freely played sixteenth notes before increasing speed later. The entire piece unfolds as a dialogue of moods, tempos and characters based on these three simple ideas and culminates with fast notes and strong declarations before subsiding into a gentle ending that includes all three motives.

(duration ca.6 minutes)

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