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Unfinished Work

In Morawetz' later years, he began to do more and more revisions of his works. Usually the revisions were made after the première of a composition, where he would make changes based on what he had heard in the performance or on suggestions of the soloist(s).

With the onset of depression in May 1995, Morawetz found it more and more difficult to concentrate. At the time, he was making revisions to his Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra which had premièred the year before. He was also in the midst of proofing his new work, Fantasia for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, which was an orchestration and modification of his Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano. The Fantasia was scheduled to première on Oct. 2nd of that year with violinist Ivan Zenaty and Nurhan Arman conducting Symphony New Brunswick. However, Morawetz battled with the effects of depression that whole summer and was unable to finalize the work, and so the Fantasia was never actually premièred. Morawetz never composed again.


And what would Morawetz have created next, had he been able to keep on composing?

In 1994, he was awarded a Toronto Arts Council grant to write a new piano piece. Here is an excerpt from the application form for this grant, where he describes the new work he wanted to compose:

The idea to write a fantasy based on the style of songs of Sephardic Jews was suggested to me by Alma Petcherski, an excellent Argentinian pianist. She moved from Buenos Aires to London, England where she made several recordings and played often on BBC. Two years ago she settled down in Toronto.

She acquainted me with the great wealth and originality of the music of Sephardic Jews of Spain. Their music comes from the time prior to the annihilation or escape of the Sephardic Jews from the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition.

My intention is to write a major work for piano which would be based on characteristic rhythms of Sephardic songs without using the actual melodies. This approach could best be compared with a number of works by Bartok, where the style is clearly Hungarian without quoting any particular songs.

To my knowledge, there has never been a composition written based on Sephardic tradition. I feel that this work may be, by its style and content, of great interest to many pianists.

Only initial sketches remain of this work: