If you love exploring the fantasy realm, be it through art, music or literature, then check out this new work for solo piano. Come and be whisked away into lands of ice and snow, where horn calls echo in the valleys as battle draws near!
Often compared to a movie soundtrack, Nordic Fantasy is an adventurous new work for solo piano. This exciting and challenging piece is perfect for the seasoned player and an ideal piece for advanced piano students looking for a technically demanding work with a contemporary sound. Less experienced players can also be relieved to know that there is an easy piano version! Both versions are available in one PDF package for download here.
You can also explore a FREE sample of the score: Nordic-Fantasy-Sample
Keep scrolling to see the video recording below and learn more…
Length: 10 pages
Performance time: approx. 7’30”
Difficulty: Advanced/RCM 9-10
Nordic Fantasy is a piece for solo piano composed through August to November of 2016. It began as a basic folk melody and eventually blossomed into a richer, more mature work.
Being half Danish, the Nordic part of the title represents my affinity for music from Scandinavia. The subtext reads, Morning mist rises, the horns sound in the distance; Tonight we feast in Golden Halls… It’s the morning before a battle and the enemy horns can be heard resounding through the valley. In the opening the piano plays echoing ‘horn calls’, growing in intensity as the army nears. Then you hear a simple folk melody, a seed that forms the basis of all other material in the piece.
Instead of ending with a bang the work concludes peacefully. In Viking lore, the Golden Halls are those of Valhalla, the mighty chambers of Odin, where the fallen warriors feast gloriously with their brethren. The repeated passage in the left hand is meant to represent tall pillars of the hall. Although the mood is celebratory, the theme is still centred around death.
In classical music a fantasy or fantasia is an expressive piece, very loose in structure, as if a composer is writing out an improvisation. Most classical works have a clear structure like sonata (ABA) or rondo (ABACA) form, whereas a fantasia is quite free. One popular example for piano is Mozart’s Fantasia in D minor (a cute story about this piece here). In this case the word Fantasy refers both to the piece’s free structure as well as its theme.
When I look over this work I can’t help but sense the spirit of many composers. I hear Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel in the opening and closing sections; Rachmaninoff in the middle section, with the elaborate left-hand parts; and Mozart on page four when the melody is accompanied by an Alberti bass pattern. The descending figure at the top of page seven reminds me of a passage in the Brahms Requiem. I hear traces of music from the Super Nintendo game Final Fantasy III. And how could I forget to mention the very clear influence of Finnish folk metal in the melodies, especially from the band, Ensiferum.
The dedication is to my late uncle, Leif Olsen. Leif (pronounced ‘life’) was from Denmark and moved to Canada as a child. Uncle Leif was one of my greatest musical inspirations. He was a high school music teacher, and studied as a baritone at the University of Toronto. He played the guitar and the piano and was also a visual artist and drama teacher. Like myself he loved reading fantasy novels like The Lord of the Rings. To borrow a music word, I felt we ‘resonated’ well together as he truly understood what it meant to be an artist and musician. He is sorely missed and I’m sure he can hear this work from his Golden Halls.
I initially rated the difficulty of Nordic Fantasy around Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 9, but after sitting down and seriously learning it the challenging left hand part would put the piece at a Grade 10 RCM/Advanced level. It is a great piece to improve your left hand fluency and expression.
To download a copy of the score please visit my Compositions page.