Fantasia on a West-country Tune, Op36a for Wind Quintet by David Arditti
Instrumentation: flute, oboe (doubles on English horn), clarinet, horn, bassoon
Score and parts
Composer David Arditti was born in 1964, of mixed Jewish and Austrian descent, and brought up in Dorset on the south coast of England. Always keen on singing, after training for a scientific career, he eventually took up music full-time and now principally composes, plays the piano, and promotes concerts. He has studied the piano with Peter Bithell of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and conducting with Neil Thompson of the Royal College of Music, Gregory Rose and George Hurst. As a composer he is largely self-taught. His music is characteristically melodic and romantic. It is heavily influenced by the English composers and folk music, but also often has strong rhythmic drive influenced by 20th century minimalism and popular music styles. Much of his output has consisted of of song-cycles and pieces for choir, both accompanied and unaccompanied, to texts by classic English, Scottish, Irish, and American poets. His largest vocal work is Chamber Music, a 30-minute long cycle of settings of James Joyce for tenor and chamber ensemble. He has also written settings for choir and orchestra of the Requiem and the Mass. He has produced many works for orchestra, including two Ceremonial Marches, a Comic Overture, a Clarinet Concertino, and the Woodford Suite (written for Woodford Symphony orchestra), plus a march for brass band, and two marches for wind band. David is Chair of the London Composers Forum, active in promoting the works of living composers in London. He is also well-known as an expert on astronomy, writing and lecturing extensively on the subject.
About Fantasia on a West-country Tune: I originally wrote this somewhat bucolic piece for performance in the 2005 ‘All Ears’ Festival organised by Forum London Composers Group (now London Composers Forum). The original scoring was for a brass quartet consisting of two cornets, tenor horn and euphonium. I have since re-arranged it for several different combinations. There are actually three tunes that are interwoven in various ways. The main one does have some kind of west-country connection, but what that is I choose to leave as an enigma. The original version was first performed by the Karen Hunt Brass Quartet on 24 September 2005 at the Church of St John on Bethnal Green, London, the wind quintet version was first performed by the London Myriad Ensemble on 17 February 2017 at the Church of St Mary’s Riverside, Putney, and the clarinet quartet version was first performed by the Ionian Clarinet Quartet on 11 August 2019 at The Pavilion, Roxbourne Park, Pinner. — David Arditti