Monday, July 7, 2014

Symphony #5

I want to write a full-length ballet. One of these days. So I thought I might use my position with the New England Philharmonic to try out some ideas for dance music. Thus, the boilerplate which follows:

Dance Episodes (Symphony No. 5) was written in the summer of 2013 and commissioned by the New England Philharmonic. I had intimated to the conductor, Dick Pittman, that I would like to try and write a few little short vignettes of maybe 3-4 minutes each for premiere by the orchestra in its 2013-14 season, and that the piece, to be called Dance Episodes, would be 10-12 minutes. But I liked the way the first movement was going and it needed a lot more space to grow, so it expanded, largely on its own but with my help, to eight minutes. The other movements got longer, too, and by the end of the summer I had a symphony of four movements rather than vignettes, and 24 minutes instead of 10-12. There was not enough rehearsal time scheduled for the whole piece, so the orchestra did just the first movement on its May 3, 2014 concert, and will premiere the whole thing on October 27 of 2014.

Here's the recording I got of the first movement, Zephyrs. Rather a fine performance with a few jitters toward the beginning. I started with the intention of letting things air out, have space, and breathe. About halfway through writing it, I no longer called it Lotsa Flutes, but Zephyrs. So it's airy. The piece is copyright © by CF Peters and is presented here with their permission.

The casual listener will note how the composer uses technique to mask a certain surfeit of content.

Now added later is the premiere performance by the NE Phil on October 25, 2014. The first movement here is the May performance, which doesn't have the strange noises in the recording that the October performance does. The third movement is pretty.