In 1991, I was asked to contribute a piece of music to a collection that was being put together to celebrate 25 years service of Philip and Terence Duffy as Director of Music and Organist respectively at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The piece that I wrote – Fragmentation – was big on concepts, but sadly short on coherence. Still, it was the thought that counted, and I was happy for the piece to be included in the collection.
Jump forward to Autumn 2010, and while awaiting the release of Richard Lea’s recording of my Fanfare, I dug out my copy of Fragmentation to see if anything could be done to make it more cohesive… and playable! I picked out several parts of the original to build the new version around – the striking opening figure, with its extreme dynamic contrasts and angular pedal line; the quiet, ominous main theme; the jaunty Jig-like second theme; and many other underused and underdeveloped figures. I also looked to tighten the harmonic structure to give a much clearer sense of drive and movement. The end result was a tighter, better developed, less fragmented piece.
The new version follows no formal structure beyond being split into three main sections. The first section introduces the main themes, initially slowly and ominously before launching into a macabre jig. A short bridge passage leads to the central quiet section which explores the more delicate colours across the full range of the instrument.
Another bridge passage leads to the final section, an energetic toccata leading to a quotation of the main theme from the original version, played on the tubas and trumpets. A final flourish is rounded off by a huge cataclysmic chord.
Fantasia was given its premiere in a recital I gave in July 2011 at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.