Music of Grant Foster
Born in Sydney in 1945, Foster studied piano
with Alexander Sverjensky at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he
obtained his Diploma of Music in 1966. During that same year Foster won the
State ABC Concerto Composition with his performance of Khachaturian’s Concerto.
He then studied in Paris for seven years with the renowned teacher Professor
Marcel Ciampi and Denise Reviere. He developed a strong technique and an
inspired insight with the keyboard repertoire.
Foster moved to London and returned to composing. He started at an early age and
composed his first opera, Dark Love, at 16. His music was heard by producers in
London, resulting in his composing of incidental music for Peter Pan directed by
Sir Robert Helpmann. The show was a big success and ran for seven consecutive
Christmas seasons. On hearing of the death of Helpmann, he wrote
Homage to Robert Helpmann.
A return to Sydney saw Foster recording his
first major classical piano work, Rhapsody for piano and orchestra – “War;
Peace; Love” for EMI. Classical music reviewer in Melbourne, Bob Crimeen wrote
of the Rhapsody: He has written a composition that could in time, be regarded
as one of the most significant contributions by an Australian to classical music.
Several directors from Harrods in London heard the
Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra and commissioned Foster to launch their new
Harrods Selection label. This consisted of a series of three piano solo CD’s
featuring works of the great composers and including several of Foster's own
compositions. For a 4th CD he was commissioned to compose an overture, The
Harrods Celebration Overture, and this was recorded by the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra. Foster has given many concerts abroad. He now lives in
Sydney where he teaches and continues to compose. His compositions include works
for Piano; Songs; Chamber Music; 2 Piano Concertos; the Owl of Dubai Suite
consisting of Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra; Romance for 'Cello and
Orchestra; Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra.
This is a celebration of life, a joyous fanfare to lift the spirits. It
is a celebration of closeness and of love: a time to only briefly reflect on the
past where sadness may dwell. It is a spirited invitation to join in and
celebrate with the hopeful dance of life.
Rhapsody for Piano & Orchestra: War;
Peace; Love. There are three sections to the Rhapsody.
The outer sections have three distinct melodies representing War; Peace; Love.
The middle section is in ternary form where three new melodies interact and
evolve, leading back to a final powerful statement of the first section. With
the strident opening chord a mood of unrest, a sense of menace is created. The
rhythmic, forceful melody in D Minor is firstly stated by the piano, accompanied
by the side drum. The orchestra takes up the melody and extends it, building the
tension as the piano blends in with cascading arpeggio figures, bringing the
theme to a dramatic climax.
The orchestra then states a lyrical, reflective theme that is taken up and
gently developed by the piano. It’s a meditative melody, creating a peaceful
haven from what has gone before. From this calm comes the first statement of the
Love Theme. This is an embracing melody, representing a love of compassion, of
reaching out and of ultimately finding that that is indefinable. The middle
section starts with a march in C major. The theme is changed into waltz time
that builds and leads into a passionate waltz in C minor.
This builds and returns to the C major theme but this time it is less lively.
There are somber undertones present, heralding a return to the powerful D minor
War theme. As it reaches a frenetic climax a gong is sounded. Is this
representative of the end of War or the destruction of mankind? From the chaos
returns the theme of Peace, reflective and warm. From this emerges a piano solo
statement of the Love Theme. It is treated with tenderness and grows into a
large, powerful statement by the full orchestra. Angry reminders of War bring
the work to a dramatic close.
Ballade for Piano and Violin
is dedicated to Mira Yevtich. The work is in three sections. After a
brief introduction in B flat major on the piano the key changes to B flat minor.
The main theme is stated by the piano as the violin plays a counter theme. These
two themes are developed and intertwine between the two instruments building to
a virtuosic climax that leads to the second section in B flat major. Two
distinct themes are the focus of the second section and the introductory them is
also developed. The mood is pensive and lyrical, one of affection. The work
dramatically changes back to the B flat minor theme of the first section. Again,
the two main themes of this section are developed and as the work builds it
leads into a dramatic and virtuosic Coda.
Four Voyages for Piano.
Grant Foster is an avid and imaginary traveler. When
visiting a place for the first time he writes a short piece in an attempt to
capture a particular mood, a colorful or notable flavor of the city. Some are
inspired visually, others by interaction with the local people. Moscow is an
example of an imaginary visit. He has explored the history and culture of Russia
with great interest but has yet to visit.