Musical fantasy becomes a reality


Courtesy of UA School of Music

Ashley Reid

School of Music faculty members Mark Votapek and Paula Fan will fill Holsclaw Hall with musical pieces from their “Fantasy” recital tonight.
The multitude of musical renditions in the recital incorporate the imaginative theme of fantasy and feature performers from the UA School of Music and Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
“When you think about fantasy, it gives you room in the imagination to roam,” said Fan, a faculty member and pianist. “When you hear the word ‘fantasize,’ your imagination is running. This gives the audience a chance to let their imagination roam.”
Fan is a professor of piano at the School of Music who specializes in collaborative piano study. She has recorded 17 albums and has broadcast for stations such as BBC, National Public Radio and Radio Television China.
The first performance on the program is composer Benjamin Britten’s “Phantasy,” which features Votapek. The cellist will play alongside oboist Sara Fraker, violinist Lauren Roth and violist Benjamin Nisbet — all members of TSO.
Following is Fan’s performance of “Three Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73” by Robert Schumann.
The Schumann piece was originally domestic music for enjoyment in the home, and played a role in the developing art of the middle class in the 19th century, according to Fan.
“The Three Fantasy Pieces are fantastic pieces,” Fan said. “You can hear all three pieces and the material all mixed together and interwoven all the way through. Schumann uses the same material in different pieces. Listen very carefully and you will hear all the unifying material.”
The next performance in the recital spotlights a collaboration between Votapek and Fan on “Sonate” by Claude Debussy.
“There is a story, but not what the composer came up with,” Fan said. “You can make up your own. There are no wrong answers. The Debussy piece has lots of different sound. You can hear a serious sound come out from the darkness and you can hear a flurry of other pieces.”
The final number of the recital features Fan and Votapek in “Fantasy on Little Russian Songs” by David Popper.
“‘Little Russian Songs’ is taking material and making up something different and sometimes changing the character,” Fan said. “It’s a lot of different sounds, but you hear the same material. It’s different because he has taken certain songs and he dresses them up. It’s like when one artist takes another artist’s song and makes it different, just like people do with ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’”
Other musical pieces on the recital program include “Prelude from Suite in G Major, BWV 1007” and “Prelude from Suite in D Major, BWV 1012” by Johann Sebastian Bach.