By Lewis Spratlan | For Piano, Four-Hands | 16′
Composer: Lewis Spratlan
Year Composed: 2020
Instrumentation: Piano, Four-Hands
Format: 2x Score
Page Size: Letter
Catalog Number: OM0450
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From the composer:
I composed Dreamworlds, my first piano-four-hands piece, for Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt in 2015. At the time I said I’d like to write another one for them, as a kind of companion to the first. Various other commissions stacked up and I never got around to the follow-up work until 2020. Then, in the midst of COVID doldrums, I returned to that earlier idea, now inspired by a great four-hand work of Schubert, the F minor Fantasy.
My Fantasia resembles Schubert’s mainly in terms of ambition, multi-movement format, and emotional range, not in terms of musical content. The first movement, marked “Energetic,” can be thought of as a giant at play. Constant rumbling in the bass, clumsy, vaguely Latin dance moves, and cascades of rude cacophony mark this slightly comic vision of the giant, who also, towards the middle, has a moment of genteel behavior.
The second movement, strikingly austere by contrast, evokes an operatic aria, with songful outer sections enclosing a kind of entreaty, perhaps for sympathy, from the beloved. It is slow and dead-earnest, hopeful but tinged with sorrow or perhaps remorse.
The finale returns somewhat to the comic mode with a dancelike rondo, whose often-repeated theme apes the finale of Brahms’s second piano concerto. It’s light-hearted, whimsical, devil-may-care, and, like the Brahms, paired with a swooping, romantic counter-subject. Here, though, that second idea is troubled: fractured, perhaps a victim of the giant’s heavy hand.
Commission/Dedication: Composed for and dedicated to Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt.
Premiere: Premiered in Saranac, New York, on October 3, 2021, by Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt.