Cynosure - A Fantasia For The Arts

Composed by Russell Nagy, narration by Joel Nagy, commissioned by the Hilliard Davidson High School Chamber Orchestra. Cynosure means "one that serves to direct or guide," and it is hoped that this work will be a clarion voice in defense of arts education.

Written for string orchestra and narrator, the composition is in the form of a theme and variations. Based on an original, thoroughly "American" theme, there are a series of five permutations, each introduced by the narrator, and each meant to highlight one branch of the arts.

Variation 1 is a chorale setting over which the narrator invites us to "Consider friends and judge what's right, in something which affects us all..." We are then taken through four short variations, each of which represents one of the four arts areas identified in the Ohio Department of Education's Academic Content Standards for The Fine Arts. These four "movements" follow the typical classical symphonic form of Fast, Slow, Minuet and Finale.

Variation 2 salutes the Musical Arts. A vibrant setting with neo-baroque overtones, it sings soaring with the unbridled jubilance of music-making.

Variation 3 employs a ground bass over which is woven a canonic treatment of the melody. It tries to create a sense of the patience required in the Visual Arts as we visualize artisans methodically sculpting and painting.

Variation 4 is a jovial and effervescent scherzo, full of the motion of Dance. Seasoned with a touch of humor, the music hop-scotches playfully through key-centers before it recaps its grand waltz melody.

Variation 5 transports us to the theater and the Dramatic Arts. With a sense of Shakespeare lurking in the wings, the music takes on a decidedly proper British flavor.

As we finally, segue toward one final statement of the original theme, the narrator calls the question: "Forego our idle novelties, dispense with feasts, if hard times call. But do not blind our hearts to these. Who needs the arts? We need them. All!"


RUSSELL NAGY BIO

Russell Nagy is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music as well as the Cleveland Institute of Electronics. Further education includes the La Domaine School of Orchestral Training, Hancock, ME and The Don Sebesky Film Scoring Workshop, NYC.

A published composer of both sacred and secular music his compositions range from choral octavos to film scores, marching band arrangements to full-length musicals. In 2005, Russell’s published works reached total sales of over one million. Cynosure is his first work to include narration.

A champion of music for young people, Russell is known for his sacred children’s anthems and Bible verse memory songs as well as the "Sticky Hooks" series – songs that support learning in the elementary classroom. He has also written electronic scores for LeapPad® scholastic products. His musical Tetelestai, ("It Is Finished") enters its 35th year of production.

As an audio professional, Russell’s production credits are found on albums by such artists as classical pianist Earl Wild, The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, jazz greats Stéphane Grappelli, McCoy Tyner and Phil Woods and The Ohio State University Marching Band. As a technologist he was six years the Music & MIDI Editor for the Multimedia CD ROM, Nautilus.

An avid jazz pianist and devoted cross-country cyclist, Russell currently teaches at Capital University Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio.











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