Fantasies & Rhapsodies

Geoffrey Duce (piano)

Catalog #: TROY1929
Release Date: May 1, 2023
Format: Digital

Since the Renaissance, keyboard composers have used the titles Fantasia and Fantasy to designate a work that has a relatively free form, where they could allow their imaginations to take flight without the necessity of being restricted to previously existing models. Similar in providing a vehicle for a free approach to form and imaginative exploration, the term Rhapsody also traditionally suggests an epic quality. Pianist Geoffrey Duce has chosen a program of both these forms for this recording with works spanning the Baroque to the 20th Century. Known as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber music collaborator, Duce has performed in major venues in the U.S. and Europe such as the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, and the Wigmore Hall. His awards include the Making Music Award from Britain's National Federation of Music Societies and the Prix de Piano at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau. Duce studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester University, Universität der Künste Berlin, and the Manhattan School of Music. He is currently on the faculty at Illinois State University, has served as a resident international visiting faculty member at the University of Taipei, and has given masterclasses around the world.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Fantasia in B-Flat Major, Wq. 61:3, H. 289 C.P.E. Bach Geoffrey Duce (piano)
Fantasia in C Major, Wq. 61:6, H. 291 C.P.E. Bach Geoffrey Duce (piano)
Fantasy on a Theme of Liszt John McCabe Geoffrey Duce (piano)
Fantasie in C Major, D 605A "Grazer" Franz Schubert Geoffrey Duce (piano)
Four Rhapsodies, Op. 11 Ernst Von Dohnányi Geoffrey Duce (piano)


  • The esteemed pianist Geoffrey Duce brings both fantasy and rhapsody to these 4 expressive pieces that span some revered composers. "Fantasia In B-Flat Major"and "Fantasia In C Major', by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, begins the listen with profoundly detailed playing that possesses both firm and calm moments, and John McCabe's "Fantasy On A Theme Of Liszt"follows with initially bare movements that erupts into dense and swift patterns of intrigue and mood. On the back half, the warm and melodic "Fantasie In C Major"showcases Franz Schubert's timeless vision with articulate and animated prowess, and Ernst Von Dohnanyi's "Four Rhapsodies"exits with incredible attention to detail via the lively and meticulous key acrobatics. A very colorful body of work that spans several centuries, Duce's highly dexterous hands keep the listener enthralled from beginning to end.

    – Take Effect Reviews

  • Intelligent programming, intelligent playing, intelligent notes by pianist, intelligent layout and design. What more could one ask for? Very little: this is one of the best conceived discs I've heard recently. The Scottish-born pianist has an impressive resume which touches base with many countries and includes a Doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music, an Associate Professor of Piano at Illinois State University and American Record Guide September/October 2023 many other achievements – very well covered in the notes. Opening with CPE Bach's occasional jettison of bar lines in his Fantasias in B-flat and in C brings us an upbeat, perky and impressively executed bit of the composer's whimsy that extends into the John McCabe Fantasy on a theme of Liszt and Schubert's "Graz"Fantasy in C. You would be hard pressed to identify which theme was used by McCabe for his piece since it is never directly quoted, but we are told it is there. The almost 13-minute duration is rarely a trial to listen to, but it is the most abstract and my least favorite of these selections. Schubert's "Graz"Fantasy is a rarely heard delight that has you wishing for more, and that is fulfilled by all four of Ernst Von Dohnanyi's Rhapsodies Op.11. The Rhapsodies, late romanticism in full flower, present a most satisfying grouping. The final Andante Lugubre uses the Dies Irae theme and ties things together into a neat package. All is brilliantly played by Duce, who has mastered all the color and subtle dynamics needed. And yes, the sound of the Hamburg Steinway is impressive. Despite my gripes about the McCabe, this is a must acquisition.

    – American Record Guide

*Album cover provided for Editorial use only. ©Albany Records. The Albany Imprint is a registered trademark of PARMA Recordings LLC. The views and opinions expressed in this media are those of the artist and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views and opinions held by PARMA Recordings LLC and its label imprints, subsidiaries, and affiliates.