Four Fantasies (vol. 1)
Composer: Robert Oetomo
Duration: 15 min.
‘Fantasy’ is a musical term used for works that are based on improvisations. The size and scale of fantasies vary from one composer to another. However, fantasies are typically classified as small-scale works.
Composed chronologically from 2012 to 2013, Four Fantasies (vol. 1) is a collection of improvisations inspired by emotions or events indicated by the title. Most of them comprise of two contrasting themes.
Fantasy No. 1: Prelude was composed on a sunny winter’s afternoon shortly upon my arrival in Germany from Australia. The title reflects the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
Fantasy No. 2: Nostalgia was composed whilst reminiscing about my friends and family in Australia whom I dearly missed. This fantasy does not imply a feeling of sadness or homesickness, but rather reflects positively on the past.
‘Selah’ is a biblical term from the book of Psalms and Habakkuk meaning to pause and to reflect. Fantasy No. 3: Selah was composed during a time of difficulty and was a way for me to reflect upon the Divine.
Fantasy No. 4: A Beautiful Farewell was composed before my return to Germany from Australia after living abroad for 10 months. Like the second fantasy, it is a positive reflection upon my time at home whilst knowing that I would soon return.
In Fantasy No. 3: Selah, note the different markings used to differentiate between an independent roll/one-hand roll (mostly in the right hand marked with ‘z’) and a traditional roll (in both hands marked with ‘roll notes’). The written out ʺaccelerando/deaccelerandoʺ figures are only to be used as a guide. The amount of notes played in each of these figures is up to the performer’s choice. However, it must fit within the notated value shown above the figures.
Fantasy No. 1: Prelude
Robert Oetomo (marimba), Joshua Webster and Catherine Betts (percussion)
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 is a collection of four small-scale solos inspired by improvisations by composer Robert Oetomo. Composed chronologically between 2012 and 2013, these solos explore a wide variety of emotions, ranging from nostalgia for one’s homeland to excitement at starting a new chapter in life.
Fantasy 1, “Prelude,” is a mid-tempo piece that utilizes sequential stickings, chorale textures, and a strong sixteenth- note groove, and is suitable for intermediate players. Some mixed-meter passages occur in this prelude, as well as relatively large intervals between the right and left hands.
Fantasy 2, “Nostalgia,” is a medium- tempo piece in 3/4 that requires technical comfort with large intervals (10ths in the left hand). Musically, it employs an active left-hand accompaniment over long melodic lines, offering the player a chance to explore and practice melodic playing that relies on space and gesture for connection rather than rolls. Mixed meter is used sparingly, but the primary technical consideration of this piece is interval control.
Fantasy 3, “Selah,” aims to inspire reflection on spirituality. The most technically demanding of the fantasies, this work requires complete control of the independent roll; while a dyad is held in an independent roll in the right hand, the left hand must accelerate/ decelerate a long melodic line, written out with feathered beams. A traditional chorale section follows, with important consideration taken to voicing each line independently. A return to the texture of the opening requires stamina to sustain the independent roll section through the end.
The final fantasy, “A Beautiful Farewell,” returns to the texture of the first fantasy by combining traditional chorale/ roll sections with sixteenth-note linear melodic lines. Mixed meter is again employed, offering a dance-like quality not found in the previous fantasies.
“Four Fantasies for Solo Marimba” would make an excellent addition to a strong undergraduate recital, or taken separately, as a palette-cleanser for a graduate recital. The pieces are well-written, idiomatic, and do a wonderful job of using advanced techniques in a musical setting.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Evi O.
Engraving: Robert Oetomo & Johan Svitzer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER