It’s not every day that a classical composer sits down and writes a piece of music about your home town. But that’s what Daniel Crozier did with his newly minted Splendor Fountain, his homage to the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater area.
“The title reflects Tampa Bay, not a fountain as such but of the water that’s everywhere,’’ Crozier said. “I toyed with a lot of different titles that suggest water, and this captured what I was looking for.’’
Crozier is part of the Florida Fanfare Project, which commissioned five musicians to write short works as part of The Florida Orchestra’s 50th anniversary season. Splendor Fountain receives its first-ever performances during the Dvorak’s Cello Concerto Masterworks program Jan. 19-21.
The orchestra reached out to colleges and universities around the state, including Rollins College in Winter Park, where Crozier teaches theory and composition. When the music department’s chairman ask if he’d be interested in composing a new piece, Crozier’s didn’t think twice – even though he was busy writing a clarinet concerto for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
“It’s exciting because The Florida Orchestra is one of the premier ensembles in the Southeast,’’ he said. “So I jumped at the chance even though I was too busy to do it.’’
The Fanfare Project guidelines encouraged Crozier’s to give it a shot: The piece can’t be more than five minutes long, a sort of musical appetizer rather than a main course.
“That’s perfectly reasonable for a fanfare,’’ he said. “My original score was actually a little under what they wanted so I added another 80 measures. That makes it, oh, about four minutes now.’’
Crozier, who is a nephew of the late Fred Rogers, host of the children’s television series Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, drew inspiration from his childhood visits to Belleair, where his grandmother spent winters away from her Pennsylvania home. The young Crozier remembers carefree days frolicking around the bay area, and being impressed with the gulf, bays, lakes and rivers.
“It was a magical place for me,’’ he said. “I’ve always loved Tampa Bay and driving across the causeways over the water. That made an impression on me.’’
Splendor Fountain, then, is an impressionistic piece that suggests water in its lyrical use of harp, vibraphone, and marimba. Dance-like rhythms in the brass dominate the rest of the work, fitting of most traditional fanfares.
Crozier looks forward to the concerts this weekend, when he’ll hear the work for the first time, outside his own head. His ideas will hardly have time to settle before they jump off the stage.
“The ink is still wet on the page,’’ he said. “You hear stories about Mozart finishing a piece the night before the opera opens, and that’s sort of how I feel.’’
Other upcoming Florida Fanfare project performances include new works by Dorothy Hindman, associate professor of composition at the University of Miami (Feb. 16-18); and Manuel de Murga, associate professor of music at Stetson University in Deland (May 4-6).
Dvorak’s Cello Concerto
Be among the first to hear Daniel Crozier’s fanfare, Splendor Fountain. The main event is Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, one of the greatest love songs ever written, featuring Maximilian Hornung. The hidden gem is a rarely heard work: Janacek’s bold and brassy Sinfonietta — with 12 trumpets! Michael Francis conducts.
Fri, Jan 19, 8 pm, Straz Center, Ferguson Hall
Sat Jan 20, 8 pm, Mahaffey Theater
Sun, Jan 21, 2 pm, Mahaffey Theater – Matinee
Tickets: $15, $30 $45
Free tickets for kids and teens 5-18 in advance