Hear my symphony

I’d like to invite everyone to listen to my recent symphony, in one of the world premiere performances the Dakota Chamber Orchestra gave in April. Well, in a composite of two of their performances, which I edited from recordings I made.

I’m grateful to the musicians for giving me permission to put this recording online. To hear the piece, follow the link, and scroll down the page till you find the symphony. You can listen to the live performance, hear my old computer demo, and download the score.

I’m not going to be shy about this piece. I really love it. The musicians had a good time with it, too, and I’m grateful for their dedication. And of course for the terrific work the conductor did. He’s Delta David Gier, music director of the South Dakota Symphony (parent organization of the Dakota Chamber Orchestra), and also conductor of all of next year’s New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts. He did some smart and wonderful — and sensitive — things to the score.

Listen, for instance, to the lilt he gets in the strings at the start of the second movement (where the strings function as the rhythm section of a 1950s rock song). He’d asked me how I wanted the rhythm played, and what he wanted, since he was asking as an orchestra professional, was details of articulations — which notes should be long, which short, which ones stressed, which notes unstressed. I’d never thought about that, and could only tell him I wanted it to sound like some laid-back kind of rock & roll. So he was on his own. Just hear what he worked out! (And listen to the gorgeous oboe playing, too.)

I’m also grateful for what he did with the third movement. You can, if you’re really into this, compare the tempo I set for the third movement (in my computer demo), with the tempo David took. His is much faster. And he was right. I can’t imagine why I thought it should go more slowly.

Many thanks to David for commissioning and premiering the piece, and to the orchestra, for working so loyally on it. I’d be curious to know what my readers think. It’s a piece designed as pure entertainment, based on 18th century models, but with a lot of American music added. I’m getting terrific reactions from people in the business who’ve heard the recording. It would be immodest to quote what they’ve said (and also improper, since they said it to me privately), but I’d like to think I have a hit on my hands.

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