Fantasy for Cello and Piano (Fine, Vivian)
Vivian Fine Estate
|Work Title||Fantasy for Cello and Piano|
|Year/Date of Composition||1961|
|First Performance||1970-02-13, Carnegie Recital Hall, New York City, John Thurman, cello, Robert Guralnick, piano|
|Average Duration||9 1/2 minutes|
|Instrumentation||cello and piano|
The idiom is a kind of musical abstract expressionism: dramatic contrasts grow out of materials stated at the outset, developed with lyrical freedom combined with a degree of composerly rigor.
- —Vivian Fine, note to the score
Rarely does Fine make such a statement about her music, but this one shows she realizes that her early severe modernistic style had evolved to an abstract expressionism, allowing her complete aural freedom, which she expresses as a ‘fantasy,’ a new term in her catalog. The composition has sudden texture changes, which produce dramatic contrasts within a seamless structure. Subtle dovetailing, such as elisions, join one section to another. Generally, the cello and piano function as equals, sometimes exchanging material, sometimes accompanying each other, or playing in unison.
One of the most interesting aspects about Fantasy is the growth and development of beginning material that states four ideas: a lyric line marked ‘with serene intensity,’ a powerful melody highlighted with accents and marcatos, chordal punctuations, and tremolo figures. These ideas are developed progressively, a feature not often found in Fine’s music, and her statement about ‘composerly rigor’ is accurate.
- —Heidi Von Gunden, The Music of Vivian Fine, Scarecrow Press, 1999
The Fantasy is a strongly structured work in one movement with five changes of tempo, the Allegro and Presto sections being virtuosic in style, contrasting with the lyricism and expressivity of the slower sections. The composer notes that ‘there are no themes or motives, the musical material evolving freely.’ A work of power and originality.
- —Marion Morrey Richter, Music Clubs Magazine, Spring, 1970
A pleasure to think about…a joy to listen to…contemporary music that you don’t have to kid yourself into liking.
- —David Spengler, The Record, November 3, 1975