Robert Helps, Esoterica tour

Piano Music by Robert Helps

Fantasy Fontana (1977) [piano solo]

Even among the tiny elite of Helps aficionados, this work qualifies as obscure. The composer never once mentioned the existence of this short piece in the fifteen years I, the Monument Webmaster, knew him. The title and dedication — “for Roger Sessions in celebration of this 80th birthday” — probably allude to Session’s early setting of James Joyce’s “On the Beach at Fontana”.
Not your average 9/8 bar (followed by a metric modulation!) — Helps‘ esoteric Fantasy Fontana
Perhaps because other past works solicited for this occasion include Babbitt’s horrifyingly complex Post-Partitions, Helps seems to wryly “up the ante” with an uncharacteristic array of polyrhythms within a pianistic ostinato texture that is vintage Helps.

Duration: 4 minutes