Composition Department


The Music of Eugene O'Brien

Fancies and Goodnights

Kathryn Lucas, flute/piccolo; Eli Eban, clarinet; Bruce Bransby, Double Bass; David Dzubay, conductor

Available on Eugene O'Brien The Clouds of Magellan  IUSM-11 (from the IU Marketplace and online retailers)

1. Fantasia I 

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2. Fantasia II 

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3. Fantasia III 

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4. Nocturne I 

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5. Fantasia IV

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6. Nocturne II 

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7. Fantasia V

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Fancies and Goodnights, written in 1994 for the ensemble Ciosoni (Michael Cameron, bassist; Timothy Lane, flutist; and Eric Mandat, clarinetist), is in seven interconnected movements, and lasts about twenty minutes. 

The goodnights and fancies of the title (a phrase from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II) are intended here as emblems for two musical types that make up the piece, the nocturne and fantasia. The trio's equilibrium lies perhaps in the fourth and sixth movements, the longest of the seven; each is a slow, elegiac nocturne. The remaining five movements are all brief fantasias, fast, intense, high-strung in character, and either closely related thematically or frankly repetitive. The division of slow and fast into separate movements is not absolute, however; Fantasia III dissolves into anticipations of the following nocturne, and both nocturnes are disrupted by unsettled memories of the fantasias. 

During the course of the work there is an accompanied solo for each instrument, the clarinet in the second fantasia, the flute and double bass in the first and second nocturnes, respectively. All seven movements are played without pause.

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