Program Note for Symphony (2006-2008, rev. 2013)
The Symphony was begun in 2006 and completed in 2008, and considerably reorchestrated in the spring of 2013 for this recording.
The Symphony is my most programmatic work to date, and is about unrequited love. The first two movements are essentially two portraits, first of the woman and then of myself, and the final movement is my imagining of what might have happened if she had returned my feelings.
I first sketched out the majority of the motives found in Symphony in January, 2006. The work was originally conceived as a song cycle for tenor and chamber orchestra on the subject of love and loss. I had completed a number of the songs before setting the cycle aside, leaving it incomplete. A year later, I returned to the motives in the songs, but now with the intent of using this material for a large, three-movement violin sonata. I had progressed to the point of having the large scale formal plan worked out, and a good portion of the first and third movements sketched out when performance opportunities fell through, and I once again set the music aside, though I felt I needed to finish the three-movement plan I had worked out in my sketchbooks.
The opportunity to complete the work came with the commission from the Lubbock Symphony, through a generous donation from Gerald Bergman and Chris Smith. There are a number of similarities between the (unfinished) violin sonata and this symphony: The first movement is a set of variations based on an eight-note motive first heard in the piccolo, the second is a fast, nervous, and violent movement that erupts at the climax with my attempt to have the orchestra “scream”, and the third is a nocturne that begins in the lowest register of the orchestra, and rises to a gentle climax and ends with a repeated motive that winds down like a music box.
When PARMA contacted me with the recording opportunity, I was excited by the chance to reorchestrate the piece. I had felt that the motivic material and formal outline had potential, but the overall quality of the piece was diminished by some miscalculations in the original score. I feel that I have arrived at a definitive version of this work.
Symphony Study Score