Program notes

L’Oiseau Fantastique I for clarinet, violin, cello, chamber organ and piano, opus 17 (1984)

  1. 1. Crescendo
  2. 2. Toccata

L’Oiseau Fantastique I was written in late 1983 – early 1984 for myself and friends to play for concerts in Brisbane in 1984. The work is the first in the series of two works that take their title from a scene in the French film, Diva (1981), in which the two main characters laughingly describe an elaborate mechanical bird as “l’oiseau fantastique,” or a fantastic bird.

The organ used in this piece is either a chamber organ, harmonium or an electronic organ set to play extremely soft haze-like sustained harmonies – a kind of harmonic echo as the work unfolds. In both of my works in the series, minimalist processes are used to explore a thematic idea.  In the first movement of this piece, the work’s material is based around a slow crescendo over gradually morphing harmonies. The second movement explores more cluster-like harmonies in quite rhythmically driven shapes. The piano is prepared in this movement.

© Andrew Schultz, 1984