Commissioned by TriOZ with financial assistance from the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts
First performance by TriOZ, Chevalier College, Bowral, NSW, 4 September 2010
It is not very fashionable, but I love Brahms’s music and find myself listening to it, looking at it and thinking about it a great deal.
This isn’t new. I’ve been a Brahms obsessive, more or less continuously, since my teenage years. And back then it was even more unfashionable. When I was 18 or 19 and a first-year undergraduate, I composed a short duo for violin and cello, the score of which has long since vanished. I can’t even remember the title of the piece, but I do recall that at one point the music settled on to a gentle rocking figure from the first movement of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor. It had not been my intention to quote it, it was simply where my musical imagination, or perhaps my memory, had led me.
In Nine Fantasies about Brahms, it was very much my intention to make explicit use of this same musical figure, not only to quote it, but to mine it for possibilities, most of which would have surprised Brahms himself. It is important to say that my piece is not a homage to Brahms, and it is certainly not an attempt to make a pastiche of his style. All nine ‘fantasies’ draw on aspects the first movement of Brahms’s concerto, some more blatantly than others, and all have titles borrowed from Brahms’s tempo and expression markings. But while Brahms might be my inspiration, the music is my own.
Nine Fantasies about Brahms was commissioned by Kathryn Selby for Trioz with financial assistance from the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. It was first performed at Chevalier College, Bowral, NSW on 4 September 2010. A few minor revisions were made and a completely new finale added in February 2013.
Andrew Ford's Nine Fantasies about Brahms put Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 under an aural microscope. Fragments from the first movement, some recognisable, some reduced to such a quintessence that they began to lose their identity, were passed around the trio, examined, picked apart and reassembled.
Harriet Cunningham, Sydney Morning Herald
Ford's intelligent and entertaining work . . .
Steve Moffatt, The Manly Daily