Hyperion Records

Angelfire 'Fantasy for amplified violin and orchestra'
composer

Recordings
'Schwantner: Angelfire & other works' (CDA67493)
Schwantner: Angelfire & other works
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Track 2 on CDA67493 [17'32]

Angelfire 'Fantasy for amplified violin and orchestra'
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Beginning in 1987, Schwantner embarked on a series of fantasies for solo instrument and orchestra, each composed with a specific performer in mind. The first, From Afar (1987) was for the guitarist Sharon Isbin. A Play of Shadows for flautist Ransom Wilson followed in 1990. Angelfire: ‘Fantasy’ for amplified violin and orchestra (2001) was the third in this series of fantasies. ‘Anne Akiko Meyers’s beguiling stage presence masks a fierce and daring musical temperament’, says the composer. ‘[Her] technical prowess and spirit draw the listener into her deeply expressive world. That visit helped to frame my musical ideas for Angelfire.’

Like its predecessors in this series, Angelfire is cast as a one-movement arch form. Schwantner has written: ‘The music begins with several strongly punctuated gong-like pedal tones in the orchestra, followed by a series of incisive and declamatory phrases for the solo violin, articulated in its lowest register. Emerging from this rather stark and austere texture is a recurring and increasingly prominent phrase presented by the strings, which gradually reveals the work’s primary harmonic kernel. These clear, straightforward and direct initial elements form the basis for all of the musical materials generated, transformed and developed throughout the work.’

Angelfire was commissioned by the Howard Hanson Memorial Institute of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. Schwantner wrote it for Anne Akiko Meyers, and the score is dedicated to her.

from notes by Laurie Shulman © 2005

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