Music for Orchestra was written during my first semester at Peabody. This was my first time working with an ensemble of this size, so I was interested in exploring thick orchestral chords and an emotional palate reminiscent of the 19th century symphonic repertoire, a repertoire of music that has always been close to my heart. There are two main themes in the composition. The first is a series of orchestral stabs that begin the piece. This tutti gesture is characterized by a series of eighth notes, triplets, and quintuplets. This idea interjects throughout the composition but is altered each time, allowing the gesture to contribute to the musical narrative in different ways, sometimes acting as an obstacle that is circled back to, and sometimes repurposed as a way to move forward in the emotional journey of the piece. The second is a series of half steps which begins as a clear motive that emerges out of the rubble of the opening orchestral stabs, but eventually dissolves as the piece progresses, only hearing fragments of the motive by the end.
I am a composer that is primarily interested in expressing an emotional narrative in my music, and this composition is no exception. By putting these two themes in dialogue, I set out to compose a piece that traverses a wide emotional terrain. I feel that this piece moves through feelings of chaos and foreboding, to triumph and simplicity, and ultimately to an ending filled with sadness and vulnerability. However, there is a feeling of struggle throughout the entire composition, which does not seem to be completely overcome by the end of the piece, as we hear remnants of the chaos that started the work in the last few measures. Overall the harmonic language of the piece transitions from an extended chromaticism at the beginning to something more diatonic by the end.
for orchestra (2+picc.2+eh.2+bcl.2+cbsn-4.3.2+bass.1-timp.3perc.-hp-str)
Reading by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Alan Buxbaum.
Copyright © Steven Crino. All rights reserved.