File 1a - Canadian fantasy : for 25-piece orchestra

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OTUFM 83-1a


Canadian fantasy : for 25-piece orchestra


  • [1929] (Creation)

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2 ms. scores (60, 65 pages)

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File consists of two autograph manuscript scores for Manson's Canadian Fantasy (initially titled Rhapsody Canadienne) for 25-piece orchestra. One version is heavily annotated. The piece was originally written for a contest in connection with the Canadian Folksong Festival in Quebec (1928) named for President E.W. Beatty of the Canadian Pacific Railway and later re-arranged for a larger orchestra [1929]. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Luigi von Kunits, premiered the work in a concert at Massey Hall (February 12, 1929). At the time, Robert Manson was the leader of the orchestra's second violins.

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Also see Manson's arrangement of this piece for two pianos.

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According to a review by "L.M." in The Globe and Mail the following day, the premiere performance was "warmly applauded, and Mr. Manson had to rise in order to bow his acknowledgements.... This, the second of his compositions to be played by our orchestra [Manson's Ukrainian Fantasy was performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1927], is really more a medley of folksong melodies than a rhapsody, since it has little continuity and less development, with only the return of the slow, chant-like folksong to bind it together. But it is pleasing music, ingenious in its instrumentation and especially clever in the variety given to material which might well be monotonous in its sameness. There is no trace of ultra-modernism in the treatment."

H.C.F. reviewed the performance for The Musical Times (May 1, 1929): "Dr. von Kunits presented a 'Rhapsodie Canadienne' by Anglo-Canadian Robert Graham Manson, once of London and now leading the orchestra's second violins. This is a cleverly atmospheric work, abounding in racy rhythms."

In Musical Canada (March 1929), the reviewer wrote: "The Rhapsodie Canadienne showed that we have another clever musician in our midst, this composition being from the pen of R.G. Manson, of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His arrangement of Canadian folk songs, finishing up with 'O Canada' is a most brilliant piece of scoring. It is safe to say Toronto never heard a transcription of 'O Canada' in any way approaching the treatment of Mr. Manson....The Rhapsodie Canadienne not only provoked unstinted applause—ti[sic] brought the immense audience to its feet. Mr. Manson, one of the most modest of men in rising to bow his acknowledgement may have just reason to feel satisfied. Why cannot we hand bouquets to male stars as well as to the ladies!"

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Box 1

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L.M., "Music and the drama : Capital twilight concert," The Globe and Mail (February 13, 1929): 14.

"Coming attractions : playhouses and concert producers say of their performances," The Globe and Mail (February 9, 1929): 5.
H.C.F., "Musical notes from abroad : Toronto," The Musical Times (May 1, 1929): 463.

"Toronto Symphony Orchestra," Musical Canada (March 1929): 20.

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  • Box: 083/001

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