Fantasies and delusions : Billy Joel's turn and return to classical music.


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In 2001, the release of Fantasies and Delusions officially announced Billy Joel’s remarkable career transition from popular songwriting to classical instrumental music composition. Representing Joel’s eclectic aesthetic that transcends genre, this album features a series of ten solo piano pieces that evoke a variety of musical styles, especially those coming from the Romantic tradition. A collaborative effort with classical pianist Hyung-ki Joo, Joel has mentioned that Fantasies and Delusions is the album closest to his heart and spirit. However, compared to Joel’s popular works, it has barely received any scholarly attention. Given this gap in musicological work on the album, this thesis focuses on the album’s content, creative process, and connection with Billy Joel’s life, career, and artistic identity. Through this thesis, I argue that Fantasies and Delusions is reflective of Joel’s artistic identity as an eclectic composer, a melodist, a Romantic, and a Piano Man.



Fantasies and Delusions, classical music, Romantic, solo piano, Billy Joel, Hyung-Ki Joo