Faye-Ellen Silverman

Passing Fancies

Year: 1985

Duration (in minutes): 16

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: larger chamber ensembles - more than 4 players, mixed instrument ensemble

Instruments: any brass, any low voice, any male voice, any string, any voice, any woodwind, bass voice, bassoon, cello, clarinet, contrabass, flute, horn, oboe, percussion, piccolo, trombone, viola, violin

Publisher: Subito Music Corporation

Description: “Passing Fancies” (named for Paul Fromm, to whom the work is dedicated), is a continuous composition in five movements. In this work, the composer attempts to create a narrative that will only make complete sense once the entire work has been heard in its totality – somewhat n the manner of several South American novels. Ideas, therefore, recur with changes, accumulating meanings as they progress. The most prominent of these is a melody in the key of D, which begins by outlining the D major triad. It first makes a partial appearance in the first movement, only to resolve into the predominantly angry mood of the second movement. It is hinted at in the second movement (as a counterpoint to the main melody); resumes in the third (its fullest statement, but unresolved); pervades much of the tonality of the fourth and, finally, “triumphs” at the end of the fifth.
This piece establishes several moods: angry (opening chords, recurring exactly in movements three and five, and reflected in the feeling of the opening of the third and fifth movements); sad or forlorn (the slow sections of movements II, IV, and V, foreshadowed at the end of I); playful (the pizzicati passages of I and IV and the brass section of II); and cheerful (the D major idea discussed above). Within each movement there are mood changes – somewhat more frequent as the piece progresses, once the basic moods are established in the first movement – in keeping with the title of passing fancies.
The Fromm Music Foundation commissioned this work.

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