Symphony in Three Movements

Robert Paterson

About this work:
I think of the modern chamber orchestra as an interesting hybrid: it is capable of somewhat large orchestral textures while at the same time affording some of the intimacy of a chamber group. Since the term "chamber" implies an intimate setting, and the term "symphony" implies a coming together, I originally titled this work Chamber Symphony because I associate each of the three movements with aspects of intimacy, love and togetherness. However, despite some of the intimate moments throughout, it is really more of an orchestral work for a classical-sized orchestra, so I retitled it Symphony in Three Movements. This movement may also be played as a stand-alone piece. The first movement, Bright and jubilant, is generally cheerful and upbeat, but occasional clouds of gray cast shadows over the musical surface. I associate this movement with traveling to a lover, and particularly over great distances. The brightness of this movement also subtly reflects the "silver anniversary" occasion for which this work was originally commissioned. The slow second movement, Serenade, represents the unique intimacy that lovers share. Most string players in a chamber orchestra—even the first stands—never have a chance to play exposed material. This is interesting because although the string sections most often play as homogenous groups, the first stands of the string section are in an arc have an intimate view of each other. In this movement, the first stands of the violins, violas and cellos all have solo material whereas the rest of the strings often play gentle, long trills. My goal in to give all of the string players in the first stands an opportunity to shine. The third movement is entitled Dancing games and is the most energetic of the three. It is has quirky, dance-like rhythms and a strong sense of pulse. In this movement, I imagine two lovers engaging in a bickering, yet friendly verbal dance match, their playful sentences bantered and volleyed back and forth like some sort of demented game of badminton in fast-forward mode. I suppose this would mean that the kind of dance I am imagining here is not one that you would necessarily move your feet to, but one meant for listening and that makes your insides want to move and shake. – Robert Paterson
Year composed: 2002
Duration: 00:19:00
Ensemble type: Orchestra:Chamber Orchestra
Instrumentation: 1 Piccolo, 2 Flute, 2 Oboe, 1 English Horn, 2 Clarinet, 2 Bassoon, 2 Horn in F, 2 Trumpet, 1 Trombone, 1 Timpani, 1 Percussion (General)
Instrumentation notes: Flute II doubling piccolo. Oboe II doubling English Horn. Clarinet I doubling Mouth Siren, Clarinet II doubling Police Whistle. Bassoon doubling High Bulb Horn. Horn I Low Bulb Horn. Percussion Instruments Needed by Percussionist: Large Concert Bass Drum Large Tam Tam Orchestra Bells Xylophone Vibraphone (motor off) Tambourine Medium Triangle Ride Cymbal Medium Suspended Cymbal Hi Hat Low Cowbell (Latin) Medium Cowbell (Latin) Medium Slap Stick Tubular Chimes (shared). Percussion Instruments Needed by Timpanist 4 Timpani Medium Suspended Cymbal Large Suspended Cymbal Medium Triangle Small Triangle Ratchet Snare Drum Small Concert Bass Drum Tubular Chimes (shared). A second percussionist may cover the percussion instruments played by the timpanist.

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