Friday, April 1, 2016

Concerto for Orkestra, movement by movement

Concerto for Orkestra is a ten movement suite for creative music orchestra. The movements, in order:

1. Processional
2. Fiat
3. Gyrodyne
4. Pram
5. Incline
6. Bumper Car
7. Dirigible
8. Monorail
9. Dromedary
10. Recessional

Movements 2-9 are named for some mode of transportation (and even movements 1 and 10 suggest movement by foot). Notes on each:

1. Processional. This is one of two movements actually performed prior to the composing of this work as a whole. The minor third opening in the bass underlies many elements of the piece as a whole. The movement is very Sun Ra-like, unapologetically, an additive structure to open the suite.

2. Fiat. Fiat is a sporty Italian car, or an edict. The opening in particular had a taste of Ennio Morricone's '60s/'70s crime drama films.

3. Gyrodyne. The opening eighth-note pulses are another important element to the work as a whole. The 12/8 rhythm suggested a helicopter motion to me.

4. Pram. The word Pram has multiple meanings; most pertinent, a pram is both a old-styled baby buggy, or a simple dinghy. This movement is generally aqueous, ebbing and flowing. I referred to it as "fake Takemitsu", and I stand by that. Nizan considered it to be an improvisation captured on page, and I won't argue that.

5. Incline. A bittersweet love poem dedicated to my adopted city. Anyone in Pittsburgh knows what an inline is. 

6. Bumper Car. The other movement performed (once) prior to the composing of CFO. Its original title was Action Figures, and in that form was dedicated to Willem Breuker. The melody has a Vivaldi feel.

7. Dirigible. The working title for this was "dirge-like", which transposed to "Dirigible" pretty easily. Nizan mentioned something about Lalo Schifrin, and I can't deny it, I would add David Shire.

8. Monorail. Is it too obvious to name a largely monophonic melody "Monorail"? I don't know. This was the last movement started, though I consider it very important for the flow of the piece as a whole. This one rings of Messiaen, at least some of the simpler, more relaxed movements from his orcheatral works.

9. Dromedary. This refers to camels crossing the deserts, moving on when nothing else will. It's also a reference to dromedary-class warships. What better way to align with that than a mutated military march.

10. Recessional. This is inspired by another piece that I won't mention. All I can say is, write a closing theme that leaves them wanting more.

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