Suitable for Classical concerts. Duration
approximately 11 minutes. See orchestration.
See printable documents. See
performances. See comments and reviews.
About Fantasy after Schubert
Fantasy after Schubert was commissioned by the
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to commemorate its 75th season.
The work is dedicated to the orchestra’s sixth Music Director,
The form of this piece is as its title implies, and
the majority of the musical material from which the work is based is
derived from Schubert. There
are four main components to Fantasy after Schubert which
include: the opening theme to Schubert’s 9th Symphony
(the Great C Major), first movement; the lyrical melody from the first
movement of Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy”; the urgent dactyl
rhythm (one long and two short) from this same piano work by Schubert
including the descending suspended harmonic progression that accompanies
this rhythm in the first movement of Schubert’s “Wanderer
Fantasy”; and an unrelated-to-Schubert tone row. The interaction of these four main ideas provides an almost
rondo-like, theme and variations.
Fantasy after Schubert opens quietly
with a Largo section played by the strings and
woodwinds introducing these main ideas of the work.
This slow tranquil opening is meant to pay reverent homage to
Schubert’s great musical genius. The
tone row is then used as transition to the main Allegro Molto
section where the listener hears the rhythmic dactyl theme in the brass
for the first time. While the
very opening slow section subtly hints at Schubert’s C major theme from
the 9th symphony, this melody is now heard without camouflage
in the low strings and horn. The
lyrical theme from Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy” quickly
follows this C major theme in similar orchestral fashion.
From here the various themes interact throughout including a fugue
in the strings combining the tone row theme with the C major Schubert
melody. The piece continues
and culminates in a grand concluding statement with the full orchestra
sounding the great, C major, Schubert theme.
Fantasy after Schubert has the option of
finishing at the end of this recapitulated C major theme with an alternate
shorter concert ending. In
the longer, concert version of this work, the piece continues to build
intensely to a sudden return of the opening quiet, Largo music
which began this fantasy. This
tranquil ending to the piece now has subtle, soft interjections of
Schubert’s beautiful melodies in this reverent finish to Fantasy
The piece was premiered by the Indianapolis Symphony
Orchestra on their opening subscription concert with Mario Venzago
conducting September 18th and 19th, 2004, at the
Hilbert Circle Theater. The
length of the work is 9 minutes for the shortened version of this piece. The full-length concert version of Fantasy after Schubert is
11 minutes in duration.
View the above link with Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Adobe Score/Part Samples
Score (page 17 & 18)
Violin Part (4 of 8
Fantasy after Schubert was premiered by the
Indianapolis Symphony on September 18th and September 19th of 2004 for the
opening classical subscription concert of the orchestra's 75th season,
with Mario Venzago conducting.
The University of Oregon Symphony Orchestra performed Fantasy after
Schubert on October 22, 2006.
The Dayton Philharmonic performed Fantasy after Schubert on
January 10 and 12, 2008, with Neal Gittleman conducting.
The Indianapolis Symphony played Fantasy after Schubert on a
Family Concert and on educational Discover concerts in 2005 with Neal
"Jim Beckel's Fantasy after Schubert is an
effective, brilliant, virtuosic and successful orchestra piece. It
combines, in a very individual and surprising way, the harmonic structures
of the well-known modern American style with twelve tone elements of the
20th century European technique, quoting original music by Franz Schubert
and transforming it into a very complex but immediately understandable
tone poem. I highly recommend this fantasy for its deeply felt
musicality and its special charm -- an outstanding program opener or a
strong short statement."
Tom Aldridge, NUVO Magazine, Sept. 22-29, 2004
". . . unlike most music premieres, this one deserves
noteworthiness. Beckel incorporates themes from Schubert's Wanderer
Fantasy, plus a prominent one from the composer's C major symphony, into a
most engaging display of contemporary sonic splendor. His employment
of the 12-tone row as rapid filigree overlaying a basically tonal idiom
makes the best use of that generally unloved serialist devise that I have
heard to date. Beckel's 10-minute Fantasy deserves to join the new
music repertoire and stay there."
Whitney Smith, Indianapolis Star, Sept. 19, 2004
"Beckel's "Fantasy" is a creation that has 20th or 21st
century flair, yet makes a fine companion for Franz Liszt's orchestration
of Schubert's "Wander Fantasy".