Saturday, August 15, 2015

Is This Real Life, Or Just A Fantasie?

Sometimes when I stop and take a look around me, my life can feel like a dream. From the very beginning of the process of brainstorming for this piece that was commissioned by Pennsylvania-based trumpeter John Maurer and opened up into a fundraiser for the Fredericksburg Brass Institute - which will culminate in a benefit concert that will take place this upcoming spring - this very dream-like feeling has stuck with me. Everything about this project represents the very type of thing I've wanted to do all my life, and yet it was a dream seeming so distant that I'm not sure even I knew this to be what I might be doing one day until it became a reality.

Introducing "Fantasie of Passage" for Trumpet/Flugelhorn and Piano

A study of the Celtic Runes and their meanings can easily inspire a self-reflection on life and its beauties, and how man-kind can fit in - or stand out from - that which exists in the world in which we live. The result of such a metacognitive process can be one that brings about a sense of spiritual growth, personal development, and the experience of a greater self. When John Maurer came to me about a concept for this piece and mentioned the runes, a piece inspired by such passage and self-reflection was inevitable.

"Fantasie of Passage" is a play on words loosely describing the type of piece - a "fantasie" - that one might expect to hear, juxtaposed with the idea of a journey (or a passage) to enlightenment, eventually leading the soul-searcher to a dream-like state of peace, or a "fantasy" (or "fantasie"). Its reference to the common phrase "rite of passage" eludes to the phrase's meaning, signifying a point in one's life where an important transition must occur in order to lead to a new chapter in life. Simply put, this 2-movement piece is about a journey into enlightenment.

Movement I primarily features a dialogue between flugelhorn and piano which can be described as slow, soaring, reflective, and passionate, exploring life's struggles and conflict, but in the presence of seeking one's rewarding and fulfilling destiny. Along the way, some friends, concepts, and ideas must be parted with while others grow closer bonds than ever before. In the end, the passage to growth and enlightenment never has to be traveled alone; rather, success can be traveled upon while marching shoulder-to-shoulder with the truest of friends and most loving of family. Movement I is named after the rune "Wunjo", eluding to the harmony of like forces such as family, friendship, and community, ultimately leading to a feeling of joy or perfection.

Movement II primarily features trumpet and piano and can be divided into two subsections - the first representing the realization of the "light at the end of the tunnel" and an energetic and climactic race towards reaching it, and the second representing a resolution of celebration and a sense of freedom upon reaching the light. The "light" represents the end of a struggle upon a journey or personal goal, but it also represents the illumination of important life lessons learned along the way that have resulted in a better person and a more beautiful world. Throughout the process, those most committed to you will make it a point to stick through the worst of moments before ever claiming entitlement to the privilege of seeing the best moments, and in the end, that's what makes the "fantasie" most wonderful. Movement II is named after the rune "Raidho", meaning "adventure" or "journey through life".

For a piece accentuating the beauties associated with a journey traveled upon with the company of a loving and supportive community, it is only appropriate that such a commission aims to engage music communities of all sorts in the act of supporting the continuous journey of the enrichment of music education for students who may otherwise not have the resources, through a high-impact low-cost summer music festival such as the Fredericksburg Brass Institute. I do hope that you will consider investing in the cause and becoming a supporter of this fundraiser.

This piece is scheduled to be premiered by John Maurer this upcoming Spring. Learn more about the details of the fundraiser and consider making your donation by clicking here.

Marcus Grant
Teacher, Composer, Trumpeter

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