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Programme Notes

The slow movement of Three Little Fantasies is a quite elaborate Klangfarbenmelodie realization of the ‘Cloud-piece’ in my Hums and songs of Winnie-the-Pooh, and the outer pieces are variations on the melody. The first (very short) contrasts solo cadenzas with different choral groupings, and the last begins as a strict canon at four different speeds, ‘thwarted’ from time to time by tiny unrelated figures which then have to be absorbed into the canonic machinery. Diadactic considerations aside (they were originally – perhaps unrealistically! – intended as etudes in such things for young players) the Three Little Fantasies are concentrated in manner and light in effect, and this note takes as long to read as a movement to play.

© Oliver Knussen

Three Little Fantasies were originally written for the Van Walsum Ensemble, who gave the first performance in Hilversum, Holland on 19 april 1970. The revised version was made for members of the London Sinfonietta who gave the first performance in an informal concert at Kingston Polytechnic in June 1983. Duration: c. 7 minutes

Three Little Fantasies

St Michael's Church, Highgate (London, United Kingdom)

Lumas Winds

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Three Little Fantasies

Jubilee Hall (Aldeburgh, Suffolk, United Kingdom)

Magnard Ensemble

Three Little Fantasies

St Oswald's Church (Lythe, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom)

Three Little Fantasies

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Three Little Fantasies


Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London, United Kingdom)

Guildhall New Music Ensemble, Richard Baker