Commissioned by the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra
against COLORADO harkens back to the music of a bygone era of American musical composition, taking its cue from the end of the era of the Ultramoderns (such as Varese), the Interlopers (such as Gershwin) and the imagined sound of the American landscape by the inter- and post-war composers such as Copland, Harris and Thompson. This is not to say the piece nostalgically looks backwards in an attempt to re-create an old sound, but rather the piece 'remembers' and filters these artifacts through the current musical landscape by accessing and borrowing elements of minimalism, and the muscular energies of popular music.
In a sense, my piece chooses to fabricate and restore but manipulate and distort, much like new furniture is antiqued and distressed and made to appear old. The music is not a depiction of a Coloradan landscape but rather musical fragments that are distressed and restored as if to sound new but also antique and familiar, but also cautionary and nostalgic.
The title then, is a reference to a favorite line of conductor Serge Koussevitsky: "Ze next Beethoven vill from Colorado come."
2 Flutes (II. doubles Picc.), 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets (I. plays Bb and Eb, II. plays A and Bb Bass), Bassoon, Contrabassoon, 2 Horns, 2 Trumpets in C, Bass Trombone, Tuba, 2 Percussionists [Glockenspiel, Crotales, Vibraphone, Almglocken, Bongos, 2 Marching Bass Drums, 2 Kick Drums, Large Bass Drum, Crash Cymbals, Temple Blocks, Whip, Cabasa, Hobo Chimes, High and Low Mbiras, Detuned Zither, Suspended Flower Pot, Gun], Harp (also plays Sleighbells and Large Wooden Box to be struck with a very large and dramatic Hammer), Pianoforte, Strings
25 February 2011
University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra
Gene Power – Conductor
The Krannert Center — Urbana, Illinois