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Roussanova - Fantasy for Euphonium

Roussanova - Fantasy for Euphonium

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FANTASY FOR EUPHONIUM AND PIANO (Second Edition 2012) is a three movement composition. Commissioned by David Stern (2001).

1. “THE OLD TALE” is a story about the Bogatyrs, some of the legendary medieval heroes of the Russian folk epics known as byliny. Bogatyrs are traditionally described as warriors of immense strength, bravery and courage. Some of them tend to be known for a certain character trait: Alyosha Popovich for his wits, Dobrynya Nikitich for his courage, Ilya Muromets for his physical and spiritual power and integrity, and also for his dedication to the protection of his homeland and people. Most of the bogatyrs’ adventures are fictional, and often included fighting dragons, giants and other mythical creatures. However, the bogatyrs themselves were often based on real people.The movement is written in Sonata Form, which is an ideal musical form to describe a bylina. The folk singers of byliny employ an easy to follow structure. It typically includes three basic parts: introduction, narrative portion and epilogue.The music has many contrasting elements including a hero taking leave of his mother, saddling a horse, departing on a journey, battling a monster, exchanging taunts with an enemy, missing his homeland.The musical introduction depicts a short verse to entice the audience to listen to the story. It describes a feast where heroes (bogatyrs) are given a task and sent out on a mission. The musical exposition presents two contrasting themes as the primary thematic material for the movement. The exposition is followed by the development, where the harmonic and textural possibilities of the thematic material are explored. This section portrays a narrative portion of the bylina, which relates the adventure with exaggerated details and hyperbole to make the story more exciting. The recapitulation is an altered repetition of the exposition, where the thematic material returns in the tonic key. The material of the second subject changes the mode from minor to major. The journey is over. The entire movement concludes with a calm coda. The transformed material of introduction brings happiness and peace. The music is very tranquil, like the epilogue of a bylina, where the brave heroes are rewarded for completing their mission.

2. “SONG OF THE SEA.” Since byliny were often performed to attempt to calm the sea, this movement is like a Hymn to Nature. The rolling chords of a short piano introduction represent the waves. The melody of the Euphonium is calm and noble. The movement has an ABA structure.

3. “THE VILLAGE CELEBRATION.” The Bogatyrs are back from their adventures and it’s time to celebrate. There are no celebrations without dances. The music is very energetic. It depicts a festive gathering at the village. People celebrate with food, music, dance and games. This movement has an ABA structure as well.

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