Fantasia was commissioned by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum with funds from the William Penn Foundation, and is dedicated to David Yang and the congregation of St. Paulʼs Episcopal Church, Newburyport, MA.
The commissioners of Fantasia had an unusual stipulation for the work: since rehearsal time would be limited, they requested a work of about ten minutes that would be practically sight-readable. In response, I decided to compose a work that aspires to non-movement, non-being. Fantasia is, essentially, the prolongation of a single, expectant state, and my guiding image for the work came from the fifth (and last) section of T. S. Eliotʼs “Burnt Norton” from his Four Quartets. While the whole of this fifth section of “Burnt Norton” gave me many marvelous word pictures to translate into music, the most succinct passage is: “Love is itself unmoving,/Only the cause and end of movement,/Timeless, and undesiring/Except in the aspect of time/Caught in the form of limitation/Between un-being and being.” Fantasia is essentially a meditation on stillness, on non-development, but always possessed of the potential to develop—of pure, unrealized potential.