Twelve Fantasias

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for solo instrument without bass, after G. F. Telemann

Telemann’s first fantasia.

These twelve solo fantasias were inspired by the Australian recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey. They were composed during April and May 2016 and are a blend of ‘hand-crafted’ composition and algorithmic determination. Telemann’s model, often considered the flautists’ equivalent of the Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, is a work of extraordinary invention and purpose. His collection contains remarkably several fugues and displays the use and ‘play’ of affections.

I have kept to the spirit of Telemann’s composition in acknowledging these affections, which govern the mood and character of each piece. I have also retained the sequence of ‘root notes’ Telemann uses, but have developed a sequence of interval collections devised from patterns 59-70 of the Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns by Nicholas Slonimsky.

Nigel Morgan’s sixth fantasia.

The two score examples shown present Telemann’s first fantasia and Nigel Morgan’s sixth fantasia. This re-working observes the Slonimsky whole-tone pattern, but uses both positions of the whole-tone scale. Whilst retaining the overall rhythmic design of the Telemann original (which includes a two-part fugue) the whole-tone scales replace the pitch content, as comparing the two examples will demonstrate.

The music is composed with the baroque flute or tenor recorder in mind. It is equally playable on contemporary wind instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, soprano saxophone. The compass is from D above middle C to F two octaves and a minor third above.

Nigel Morgan’s fourth fantasia.

Each Fantasia is based on an interval collection created from the patterns 59 -70 in the Thesaurus of Scales
and Melodic Patterns
by Nicholas Slonimsky. The root note of each pattern follows the same sequence as
that chosen by G.F. Telemann for his 12 Fantasias without bass. As there is no hierarchy of tones in these ‘Slonimsky’ patterns all accidentals are written as #.

It is important that performers look carefully at these interval collections and indeed practice the scales on which they are based. This will guide the interpretation of those ornaments occasionally marked, but whose direction is left to the player – as in Telemann’s own score. It should go without saying that further ornamentation is encouraged.

Ornamentation is only marked in a similar manner to that found in Telemann’s Fantasias, usually a trill, sometimes a turn. The interval collections belonging to each Fantasia are an important reference for executing those additional notes above or below suggested by the ornament marking.

A trill always suggests the nearest higher or lower note that is felt comfortable and appropriate to the melodic figure.  Players are encouraged to go beyond the written notes and develop further textures
and possibilities.

The music was in part created in the Lisp software Symbolic Composer. The notated score was fashioned in Opusmodus. This work is dedicated to the composer David Lumsdaine on his 85th birthday.


Twelve Fantasias score [pdf]

Twelve Fantasias reference recordings [zip]

Individual reference recordings

Fantasia 1 [mp3]

Fantasia 2 [mp3]

Fantasia 3 [mp3]

Fantasia 4 [mp3]

Fantasia 5 [mp3]

Fantasia 6[mp3]

Fantasia 7 [mp3]

Fantasia 8 [mp3]

Fantasia 9 [mp3]

Fantasia 10 [mp3]

Fantasia 11 [mp3]

Fantasia 12 [mp3]