Fantasia on a Webern Row

Basic info

  • Instrumentation: triple winds, brass and percussion
  • Year of composition: 2016
  • Duration: 14 minutes



I compose with three scores sitting on my desk. Each is by a composer I admire, and having them there motivates me. One of the scores is by Anton Webern, an Austrian whose music from the early 20th century influenced a generation of composers. In Fantasia on a Webern Row I draw on the tone row from Anton Webern’s Symphony, using it as a thread with which to weave my own music. The opening minutes of Fantasia are spare and stripped back. Often only a single instrument plays. Richer sonorities soon emerge, but these function less as ‘chords’ and more as ‘sound masses’ in which instrumental timbres swim in and out of focus like colours on the surface of a deep and gently undulating lake. This swelling effect is even more pronounced at the climax of the work, where tutti sonorities come in vast waves, surging and receding and surging again. In the closing moments of the work, only specks of sound remain.


“Most impressive of all was Davison’s new work. It is an absorbing, multi-textured piece, with a clearly defined and satisfying sense of structure and line.” – The Mercury, 17/02/2017

Fantasia Review

Review in The Mercury of the premiere performance on 17/02/2017.