William Hirtz’s Fantasy on “Wizard of Oz”

Jon Kimura Parker and William Hirtz

My friend and colleague, the composer William Hirtz, can work pianistic miracles out of harmony, rhythm and texture. Several years ago he showed me a piano duet Fantasy that he had composed using several of Harold Arlen’s iconic themes from the “Wizard of Oz” soundtrack. It was joyous, technically raucous, and seemingly featured dozens of notes all at once. I jokingly commented that I if he could arrange this Fantasy for one piano two hands, I would happily play it. I thought nothing more about it.

Fast forward several months: one day my fax machine started up and several insanely dotted pages spewed forth. I recognized the music – it was indeed the Fantasy arranged for two hands – but couldn’t imagine how it might be played. I called Bill and complained, “Hey, didn’t you know that when you rearrange a four hand work for two hands, that you’re supposed to leave out some of the notes!!

Here is the Wizard of Oz music in all its glory. It’s one of the most difficult works I’ve played, period. If you’re a pianist and would like to order a copy of either the two handed or (more reasonably playable) four handed version, feel free to contact William Hirtz directly at w.hirtz@att.net.

[audio:https://www.jonkimuraparker.com/audio/14-The-Wizard-Of-Oz-Fantasy.mp3]

William Hirtz – Fantasy on Wizard Of Oz (Arlen, Stothart)

 

"Fantasy is not just a technical showcase, but a big, clear picture window of a musician with a rich soul and great artistic depth. It is also a fantastic example of programming that entertains as well as edifies.”
-Musical Toronto

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