The "Ninth Fantasy", a fantasiestücke originally scored for upright piano and symphony orchestra, is a nostalgic impromptu on Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", widely known from his 9th Symphony.
Composer Bryan A. Crumpler recalls his youth playing the upright piano in church as a child, and he has recaptured the essence of the moments he first saw the light of day and consciously discovered music at age 3. Mimicking the church pianist at Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, NC back in 1982 has come a long way since. He can still envision those moments as a child, sitting up at the piano pretending to sing and play and read those funny lines and dots called "sheet music" which, then, made zero sense to him. Having gone on to become an internationally renown Clarinetist and successful Teaching Artist with the Atlanta Music Project in Atlanta, GA, he has combined both his composition skills and piano improvisation skills to pull off a rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy that is both original and inspiring to those with gifts not so readily matured.
In Bryan's own words: "I originally improvised this during a serious bout of withdrawal from my family and friends while suffering from a traumatic time where I felt alone and abandoned and was making many mistakes that compromised me and who I was able to trust. Playing the piano brought me joy, even if poorly improvised and not up to par with many of my piano heroes - those being Alexandre Rabinovich, Martha Argerich, and Michiel Demarey - and certainly not up to par with the many wowzers I witnessed during my days in Belgium at the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Music at that time was my saving grace and kept me on track. It comforted me and made me feel alive. Nine also happens to be my favorite number."
The score is dedicated to "The Bearded Knights of Todd", a hat tip to friends at Mary Todd Hair Salon - a boutique hairdresser company. They have and are continuing to be extraordinarily supportive of Bryan's music, even if he doesn't need a haircut. Check them out at: marytoddhairco.com
released December 13, 2014
Composed/Arranged by Bryan A. Crumpler
Many thanks to Steven Sloss for all his continuing support of music in Cabbagetown.