Fantasy Variations on George Gershwin's Prelude II for Piano: An analysis and conducting guide

Brian Stevon Taylor


Donald Grantham has received much acclaim and awards for his compositions. Fantasy Variations proves to be noteworthy addition to his collected works and to the band repertoire. The work won the NBA/William Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest in 1998 and the ABA/Ostwald Award in 1999. The piece has received much acclaim and many performances with several commercial recordings. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the importance of the band music of Donald Grantham through an analysis of one of his award-winning works. Further, another aim would be to help more bands perform this noteworthy piece by assisting in the understanding of its challenges through a complete conducting guide. Biographical information about Donald Grantham and George Gershwin with Gershwin's Prelude II (1927) with background information and a presentation of the form and structure are presented. A complete analysis of the work detailing the overall form, motives derived from the Gershwin, compositional techniques, key centers, and thematic relationships are discussed. The requirements needed for performance, solos, ensemble challenges, and conductor responsibilities are explored in the conducting guide. An interview with Donald Grantham discussing his influences, compositional methods, and history of the work is included.