Composed in 1680, Henry Purcell’s famous Fantazia Upon One Note has inspired a number of works by modern composers, including Elliot Carter, Peter Maxwell Davies, Oliver Knussen and George Benjamin. This piece continues that fascination, and the combination of electronics and solo violin pays further homage to the many composers of electroacoustic music who have explored the endless possibilities offered by one note, notably Bernard Parmegiani in his Incidences/Résonances.
Purcell’s original is built around middle C, but is most often played at a historically-informed lower pitch. This piece opens with the soloist exploring a sustained G, a note characteristically enriched on the violin by the sympathetic vibrations of its open strings. As the piece unfolds, more eccentric deviations and elaborations are developed, until Purcell’s own music, in a transformed state, projects a shifting harmonic aura within which the soloist weaves a tapestry of inventions Upon One Note.
Fantazia Upon One Note was composed in 2022 and premiered by Darragh Morgan on February 11 2022 in the Studio Theatre, Pontio, Bangor, as part of the Bangor New Music Festival.