Symphony No. 1 (UpComing)

Written: Upcoming
Duration: ca. 20-25'
Instrumentation: orchestra (3 flutes, 3 oboes (3 doubling English Horn), 3 Clarinets (3 doubling Bass Clarinet), 3 Bassoons (Bassoon 3 Doubling Contra Bassoon), 4 Horns
3 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, 1 Bass Trombone, 1 Tuba, Timpani, 3 Percussionists, Piano (mostly inside the piano), Harp, Strings)
Written for the inauguration of the Mostly Modern Festival
Upcoming Premiere: Mostly Modern Festival, American Modern Orchestra, Christopher Rountree, conductor, June 10, 2018, Arthur Zankel Music Center, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA.
Publisher: Bill Holab Music

Program Note (In Progress)

Symphony No. 1 is the first of four symphonies I am planning on composing that will be loosely based on themes having to do with the four ancient elements: earth, air, fire and water, but with an underlying ecological theme. In this sense, these works are loosely related to (or perhaps expansions on) themes presented in A New Eaarth, my work for chorus, orchestra and narrator that is about climate change.

Symphony No. 1 is Inspired by the four phases of a wildfire: incipient (Pre-Heat, Pre-Ignition), Flashover (Flames), Fully Developed (Transition) and Decay (Smoldering, Glowing). The first movement, Firestarter, is constructed as one giant crescendo. I imagine a fire beginning as a single spark or swirl of smoke, perhaps a dry forest lighting up in flames from the hot sun. The word ‘firestarter’ can imply both a piece of flammable material used to help start a fire, and one who starts fires. In this sense, I image a more collective meaning. The damage we have caused to the environment has increased the amount of forest fires worldwide. The second movement, Blaze, represents the fire itself, a large, bright hot, fiercely burning fire that consumes the land. The third movement, Decay: Smoke and Embers, represents the aftermath: smoke rising from the ground, burning embers gradually losing their glow. The final movement, Regeneration, is the most optimistic of the four movements, and represents not only the regeneration of the forests, but also of humanity, and our sensitivity to the world around us.

Symphony No. 1 will be written for the inauguration of the Mostly Modern Festival and the American Modern Orchestra.