commentary to opus 97a

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Fantasia II in memoriam Pablo Casals for Violoncello solo, op 97a (1993)

 

Fantasia II beginning

 

First performance: 22. Oktober 1993, Kronberg, Peter- und Paulkirche, Cello-Festival "in memoriam Pablo Casals"
Julius Berger

Dedication: for Julius Berger

Duration: 8 Minutes

Publisher: Zimmermann Musikverlag Frankfurt ZM 30860 / ISMN M-010-30860-9

Challenge classics CC 72376

Ars Production ARS 38231


The Fantasia II was composed in summer 1993 at the suggestion of the cellist Julius Berger. To fit the occasion of the first performance at the Kronberg Casals Festival in the same year, I chose the letters of the name "CASA(L)S" that can be used musically, the sequence of notes "B-A-C-H" as well as the first line of the Gregorian chant "Te deum laudamus". Additional elements are combinations of diatonic flageolet tones plus tones from the harmonic series. By alternating between flageolet and ordinario, or arco, con sordino and pizzicato the player can explore the instrument's tonal and sonic range. The permanent variability of metre intends to allow for a "free speech".

Embedded in a multi-passage "circle form", the tone material is used in a kind of metamorphosis in opposing rhythmical and tonal situations. Dance-like passages alternate with chorales, and recitative-like passages alternate with arioso parts. With the recurrence of the beginning, the finale begins, slowing down gradually and finally dying away in extreme piano.

Bertold Hummel

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