Garcia - London Town Fantasy for Solo Trombone and Piano reduction
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Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Antonio J. García has taken Haydn’s “London” Symphony as a point of departure for his London Town Fantasy for trombone and orchestra (or piano accompaniment), commissioned by the Charlottesville Symphony Society for the Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra (Virginia). CUSO Music Director Kate Tamarkin sought a piece that would “showcase the trombone in a jazz ballad style and somehow reference the Haydn "London’ Symphony” that would follow it on the program, knowing that the first half of the concert would also include the Brahms “Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn”. She and trombone soloist Nathan Dishman suggested the title “London Town Fantasy,” envisioning a potential intersection with elements of George Gershwin’s “A Foggy Day (In London Town)”, which seemed apt given a scheduled trip of García’s to London during the compositional process.
Listeners familiar with Haydn's “London” Symphony No. 104" will notice references starting at the first measure. And the violin part at the outset of the Symphony’s fourth movement, Allegro Spiritoso, offered the core of what became the melody to this Fantasy. The melody of the “bridge” section of the tune is crafted from the first seven measures of the opening theme of Haydn’s first movement (Allegro).
The use of “A Foggy Day” had to be more subtle, as copyright law must be observed, limiting the use of its actual melody within this piece. But Gershwin’s harmony actually is the harmonic basis under the melody of the Fantasy; and his devotees will recognize that when the soloist improvises medium-swing jazz with the orchestra, the chord progression is indeed entirely that of “A Foggy Day.” (An optional written-out solo is provided.)
Note that the string section is not asked to play swing eighth-notes at any time. Their jazz-phrased passages are couched in even-eighth, syncopated double-timed-sixteenth, and triplet-eighth cross-rhythmed lines well-rooted in the jazz tradition. Winds and brass, however, have swing-eighth passages to perform (and some even-sixteenth lines).
The superb piano reduction makes the six-minute London Town Fantasy ideal for performances on student and professional recitals, and no improvisational skills are needed by the pianist. Available MIDI demonstration recordings of the duo and orchestral settings, with MIDI soloist or “minus one,” make rehearsals easy and even provide the aural basis for your own potential “virtual” performance.