OVERTURE FOR THE END OF A CENTURY



Performed By: Southern Methodist University Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Timothy Seelig, conductor

Instrumentation:
Full orchestra: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 Bb clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 Bb trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, 3 percussion: [1 - tambourine, snare drum, suspended cymbal, wood block], [2 - xylophone, triangle, orchestra bells, bongos], [3 - marimba, tom-toms (medium, low)], timpani, piano, strings

Duration: 6 minutes

Commissioned By:
The National Music Educators Convention and the National Association of Orchestras, 1994

Premiere:
April 9, 1994 by the National Honors Orchestra, David Gilbert, conductor, in Cincinnati, OH

Available From:
Oxford University Press, rented by C.F. Peters

Composer's Notes:
The Overture for the End of a Century takes its melody, harmony and color from the tradition which has defined the orchestra in our century. At the same time the work explores some approaches to sound which have become part of our musical world in the last part of this century: the mixing board which can make a foreground elements which were once heard as background only; the computer screen, which can make fragments as interesting as complete lines; and the synthesizer, with its new sounds, and emphasis on color and pulse.

The overture is in ABA form. The opening (m. l-30) presents all the elements of the work: melody; static rhythmic line; the single chord; the idea of repetition. From m. 3l-45, static rhythm and the single chord are highlighted: the static rhythm is treated as a supporting line to the single chord, which fades in and out as if someone were moving the volume slider on a mixing board smoothly up and down. In the "B" section, m. 46-93, all four elements of the piece are presented in fragments, with the chord passed rapidly around the orchestra (m.71-93), as if it were playing hot-potato. At m. 94, in the return of "A", there is a recapitulation of the melody and a restatement of the four elements until m. l57, when all combine in an eleven-measure decrescendo-crescendo to the end of the piece.

— Libby Larsen
 
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Score Errata:
Viola, measure 9, beat 3, half note should be an E.
Viola, measure 20-21, slur as in Violin I part.
Clarinet, measure 52, A#
Horns, measure 61 and 70, dynamic should be mf.
Horns, measure 74 & 75, dynamic should be fortissimo.
Tuba, measure 77, needs quarter-rest at the end of the bar.
Percussion III, measure 79 and 87, dynamic should be mf for first set of eighth notes and mp for last lest of eighth notes.
Winds, measure 82, dynamic should be forte.
Percussion, measure 83, keep previous dynamic level.
Viola, measure 92-93, Gb-A-B-C.
Cello Part and Score, after H, arco.
Percussion I Part(only), before G, snare drum.

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