About this work:
When Poughkeepsie, NY marked the Bicentennial of its founding as a village in 1999, it was fitting that they celebrated by presenting a work written by Poughkeepsie native Joseph Bertolozzi, and performed by the local orchestra, The Hudson Valley Philharmonic under the direction of Randall Craig Fleischer. Commissioned by David E. and Margaret L. Engel, it is dedicated to Lillian Rauth Engel, Vassar College Class of 1910. In Suite Poughkeepsie, Bertolozzi felt "the best way to celebrate musically was to write a fun piece." He continues: "Suite Poughkeepsie is intended as an evocation of characteristic local scenes, impressions of my own experiences growing up there, things which will be familiar to its present inhabitants. It is not an overview of the municipality's rich history; perhaps someday that may be another work!
The opening movement, A Night at The Bardavon, began life as an overture I wrote for a production by Community Children's Theater of Dutchess County, but was scored only for flute, synthesizer, and piano four-hands. It is quintessential theater music and always cried out for orchestral treatment, so it was a gift to have the opportunity to transfer it to the big stage of the Bardavon where I spent many an occasion watching movies, concerts and live shows. The next movement, The Pioneers vs. The Warriors simply calls to mind the city's two hometown high schools, pitted against each other as rivals. The Soldier's Memorial Fountain is a brief elegy to the city's fallen. The site was a favorite place to go for walks when I was a child, and it is wonderful to see it restored again. The tarantella which constitutes A Feast at The Italian Center is a veritable perpetual motion in which the theme, simply stated by the solo violin, is tossed around the entire orchestra. Anyone who has attended the Italian Center's functions, either privately or in one of their public festivals, will recognize the good cheer that is always present. Next we find a bridal march in A Wedding from Vassar Chapel. I chose this piece to bring us into the Arlington section of the city, and also as a remembrance of the times I have played the organ there myself. Finally we come to Between the Bridges at Sunset. As well as being visible from the waterfront, the trestles of the Railroad Bridge cross over several neighborhoods on the northside of town. The Mid-Hudson Bridge, (as I probably will always call it) remains a popular symbol of the city and is graceful both in its design and setting. There are few things comparable to walking across the span in the fall, heading towards Highland on the southern walkway with the foliage in front of you, and then back on the other side seeing the City of Poughkeepsie rise up out of the Hudson. The image from Waryas Park of the sun going down between the bridges will always be a source of poetry to those who view it.
Year composed: 1998
Ensemble type: Orchestra:Standard Orchestra
Instrumentation notes: 2(pic)222 4231 Timp* 2 percussion (Glockenspiel, bell tree, triangle, piatti, medium suspended cymbal, tam tam, orchestral bass drum), hp, pno, strings.