Four Fantasies (vol. 2)
Composer: Robert Oetomo
Duration: 15 min.
Composed between 2012 and 2014, Four Fantasies (vol. 2) for Solo is a continuation of the first volume of Four Fantasies. Similar to the first volume, this is a collection of improvisations inspired by emotions or events indicated by the title. Most of them comprise of two contrasting themes.
Fantasy No. 5: As the Snow Falls was conceived in 2012 and completed two years later. As the name suggests, this fantasy was composed upon seeing snowfall for the first time. I will never forget the feeling I experienced from seeing snowfall for the first time; the warmth and cosiness I felt whilst the snow fell down and how quickly everything became white.
The inspiration behind Fantasy No. 6: A Little Angel’s Prayer was the sudden illness of a colleague’s father. This fantasy was written to express not only my empathy but also positivity and hope for his quick recovery during this challenging time.
The title of Fantasy No. 7 (Finale) refers to an especially difficult ending of a long phase in my life whilst living away from home. The feeling of hopelessness without end is depicted through a continuous and repeated ascending motif in the theme, which does not resolve but instead reiterates with slight variation, creating a false sense of hope.
The last fantasy was composed almost one year after the previous fantasy. I waited for a special occasion to arise in order to inspire this last fantasy; the approach of one of my percussion teacher's birthday, which happened to coincide with the conclusion of my time living in Germany. This was the last piece I wrote during my time living away from home for two and a half years.
As a gesture of my enormous gratitude towards Professor Dennis Kuhn for his generous and invaluable imparted wisdom, Fantasy No. 8: Luisa’s Dream is dedicated to him.
About the composer +
Indonesian-born Australian percussionist and composer Robert Oetomo (b. 1988) studied his Master of Music (Künstlerische Ausbildung) degree in performance at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim, where he received highest distinction for his final graduation recital in 2014. He completed his Bachelor of Music (Performance) Honours Class I at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia in 2010. His previous teachers include Professor Dennis Kuhn, Jasmin Kolberg, Claire Edwardes, Daryl Pratt, Richard Miller and Gary Wain. He has accumulated many national and international awards including third prize in the Vibraphone category of the 9th Percussive Arts Society Italy International Percussion Competition in 2011, the ‘Just Percussion Marimba Prize’ at the Australian Percussion Gathering (APG) 2010, first prize in both the Open Marimba and Open Vibraphone categories of the 2010 Australian Percussion Eisteddfod and second prize at the 2008 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Snare Drum Award. He also won the 2010 Sydney Conservatorium Percussion Concerto Competition, and was finalist in the 2012 Yamaha Music Foundation Europe Scholarship Competition.
A versatile percussionist, Robert has performed with different orchestras and ensembles including the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, the Kurpfälzischen Kammerorchester Mannheim, the Australian Youth Orchestra, Synergy Percussion and Mannheimer Schlagwerk. He presented his paper, ‘The Transcription of J. S. Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites for the Modern Marimba,’ at APG 2010 Symposium ‘Moving Ground – The Changing Face of Percussion’. Robert was invited to perform his work, The Legend of the Golden Snail, at the Gala Concert of APG 2010, performing with highly acclaimed percussionists including Steve Schick, Sylvio Gualda and Kuniko Kato.
As a composer, Robert passionately advocates the development of percussion music. He has composed numerous works for percussion which have been performed all over the world. His first symphonic work, Spirit of The Dreaming with solo didgeridoo, was premiered at the ‘2008 Aurora Music Festival’ in Sydney, Australia. Later that year, it was performed again with renowned didgeridoo soloist, William Barton. Robert was selected for the 2010 Ku-Ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra Composers' Workshop program during which he composed his new orchestral work, Reflections on an Island’s Landscape, under the mentorship of composer Nigel Butterley and John Peterson. His works are published by Edition Svitzer and Tapspace Publications. Robert is an Encore Mallets, Inc. endorser.
Percussive Notes, November 2016
This collection of solos is a continuation of an earlier set (reviewed above). Similar to the first collection, the pieces take on a feeling of improvisations and normally feature two contrasting themes.
The four titles include “As the Snow Falls,” “Little Angel’s Prayer,” “Finale,” and “Luisa’s Dream.” Each piece is to be performed at a slow, expressive pace, which is why each one has a feeling of freedom or improvisation. Robert Oetomo has a real gift for writing warm and expressive voicing. The composer presents many of the phrases by using moving arpeggios under longer notes in the right hand, which provides the melodic material. The third piece is unique, as it is to be performed with all notes being rolls. The long tones make excellent use of dissonance, which resolves to warm tonal chords. “Luisa’a Dream” is an excellent conclusion to the set. Following an introduction of long sustained rolls, the melody takes on the mood of a hymn, and even though there are contrasting sections, the melody returns in different forms. The final coda is a return to the choral materials used in the introduction.
These four selections could be performed as a suite or each one could stand alone. I am very impressed with Oetomo’s writing, as he employs a variety of colors, and writes tonal material that is fresh and expressive.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Evi O.
Engraving: Robert Oetomo & Johan Svitzer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER