Monthly Archives: March 2005

Fantasy on “Les Folies d’Espagne”

for Chamber Orchestra

Scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, prepared piano, harpsichord, portative organ, 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, bass and percussion.

This was my senior thesis in composition at the University of Chicago.  It is a polystylistic romp through the ages, built on three pieces of material: a descending glissando figure, the “La Folia” chord progression, and a waltz.  It’s a humdinger of a piece.  It’s hard to hear on this recording, but at the end, I have the organist switch off the power supply to her instrument.  As the air decompresses, various higher partials in the pipes are activated, creating about the coolest instrumental effect I know.

The recording above is from my senior recital in 2005 and features a bunch of my friends as well as some hired ringers (conducted by me).  Here’s a second recording by the Chicago Composer’s Orchestra conducted by Matthew Kasper in 2012 (slightly updated version which I discussed here.)