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Fantasy in French

Fantasy in French

A grade 5 work


World Premier on December 21, 

2012 at the Midwest Clinic

by the Virginia Wind Symphony

Dennis Zeisler, Conductor

Col. (Ret.) Arnald D. Gabriel, Guest Conductor

Program Notes:

Fantasy in French is a musical collage comprised of several well-known works by French composers. The first task in a project of this nature is to choose which pieces you are going to use. Sometimes you choose pieces for their contrast to each other and how, together, they will provide good variety, flow and drive. In this case, I chose pieces that technically and emotionally were similar. My ultimate goal was to take the five works listed below, mix them all together, and present a piece that sounds like it was co-written by Saint-Saëns, Satie and Debussy.


Fantasy in French begins immediately with such a combination, presenting Debussy’s "Syrinx" melody right on top of the chord progression from Erik Satie’s "Gymnopedie No. 1," then slowly it melts into the original opening phrases of Debussy’s "Clair de Lune." In measure 28 we get a strong presentation of the "Gymnopedie" chord progression and the melody which serves as a counter melody to Debussy’s "Clair de Lune." Measure 37 finds the listener being tossed back and forth from "Clair de Lune" to Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony and in measure 51, "Clair de Lune" gets replaced with Saint-Saëns’ "Aquarium." The piece ends with "Clair de Lune" all by itself, because, as one of the most beautiful pieces ever written, I owed it at least that much.


Camille Saint-Saëns - Carnival of the Animals, VII. Aquarium

Camille Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78, “Organ Symphony”

Erik Satie - Gymnopedie No. 1

Claude Debussy - Suite Bergamasque for Piano, L.75, III. Clair de Lune

Claude Debussy - Syrinx, L. 129

Fantasy in French Cover 3sm.jpg
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