Fan(fare)tasy on an English Carol (2013)

for orchestra (2.1.2.1 4.3.3.0 2perc. cel. strings)

Fan(fare)tasy is a paraphrase of the English holiday carol “Here We Come a-Wassailing,” as I remember it through a solo piano arrangement I heard as a child and an a cappella rendition by some of my college friends.  I envisioned the first measure of the tune as multiplying into a haunting ostinato, played by the strings. Over this ostinato come snatches of melody from the winds, brass, and percussion, in a minimalist-inspired style with seemingly random Beethoven quotations. The ending of the piece takes the last line of the carol (“And God bless you and send you a happy new year”) as a sort of valediction, perhaps a fond farewell at the end of a holiday celebration, represented by a wistful oboe solo and a grandiose chorale.

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