DECEMBER 20, 2009 — HINSDALE, ILL. — From its animated and dissonate introduction on the piano, to the clarinet's jazzy lament, "Fantasia Annenberg" will takes performers and audiences on a journey through senses of tense excitement, reassurance, and meditation. The new duet was composed by Daniel M. Reck during his residency at Northwestern University, and the work's interlude is based on music originally arranged by Brahams and adopted by the university as its hymn, and is a nod to the composer's graduate residency on the Evanston campus. The music is published by forzandoArts. "I am very excited to finally have 'Fantasia Annenberg' out the door," says Reck.
"I got started on 'Fantasia' a couple years ago and had it pretty well roughed out in a couple months," Reck says, "But I was busy with other projects and could only edit it when I had the chance." The duet was sharing time with Reck's graduate studies in education at Northwestern, which awarded him a Master of Science in Education and Social Policy degree in 2008.
"The 'Annenberg' name refers to Annenberg Hall on Northwestern's Evanston campus," Reck says. The building houses the university's School of Education and Social Policy, and is named for noted publisher, broadcaster, diplomat, and philanthropist Walter Annenberg. "The building itself is relatively new and was designed by the architect to unify the nearby Gothic- and modern-styled buildings," the composer says, "That building was the nexus of my studies, and and this music also brings together the various moods I experienced at Northwestern."
The main themes are strong, dissonate, and heavily laden with tritones, known to musicians as the Devil's interval. "Sometimes your thesis work makes you feel like you're trapped in the underworld," Reck says, "But the lighter Bohemian themes reminded me of the Chicago area's incredible diversity. Walking along Lake Michigan or the Loop and seeing what you see can be very refreshing and exciting."
The Brahams-inspired middle section references the University's hymn, which Reck performed with the Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band at each football game. Reck played clarinet and alto saxophone in the ensemble. Reck says, "I think my master's adviser thought I was crazy. I walked in to her office on the first day and said, 'I don't care how we do it, but I want to march in the band!'"