SOLO SYMPHONY (SYMPHONY NO. 5)






Performed By: the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor

Movements:
I. Solo-solos II. One Dancer, Many Dances III. Once Around IV. The Cocktail Party Effect

Instrumentation:
Full orchestra: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoon, 3 trumpets, 4 horns, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, 3 percussion: [1 - marimba, tubular bells, large log drum, 2 bongos, snare drum, suspended cymbal, triangle (small, medium), chimes, wood block (medium), sweet potato, bee bee shaker], [2 - orchestra bells, vibraphone, xylophone, suspended cymbal, 2 congas, hi-hat, wood block (medium)], [3 - pan drum, crotales, steel drum, tam-tam (large), tom-toms (5), bass drum, snare, drum set, bass drum, 2 congas, triangle, 2 cowbells, guiro, temple blocks], timpani, piano, strings (1 stand doubles electric bass with subwoofer amplification)

Duration: 27 minutes

Commissioned By:
Colorado Symphony Orchestra

Premiere:
September 16, 1999 by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor, at Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver, CO

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

Composer's Notes:
"What is solo? Is it the effort of one and only one, such as a solo violin, a solo flight? Is there such a thing as a solo effort? Is the “man on the moon” a solo effort? Amelia Earhart’s solo flights were only solos in that she was in the plane alone. But her ground crew was as responsible for each flight as she was.

A solo is a group. The effort of many becomes the effort of one to produce a unified sound, a unified music. This symphony is about the one and the many.

Solo-solos, the first movement, presents a flow of short melodies played by trumpet, clarinet, oboe, horn and bassoon alone. These same melodies are then played in unison by the strings, then combined with the solo instruments, creating a musical fabric which is unified, but any given moment is a solo moment.

One dance, many dancers. A single melody seen through the lens of different dances, including funk, waltz, swing, square dance, tango, and jig.

Once around is a brash dash through the choirs of the orchestra.

There is a feature of human hearing called the ‘cocktail party effect.’ It is the ability to pick out and hear a single voice amidst chaos. This final movement treats the cocktail party effect as a listening game, a kind of musical “Where’s Waldo?” In this case, Waldo is a melody. Introduced by a snare drum at the very beginning of the movement, from then on Waldo is hidden amidst the other music.

This is a listener’s symphony, as well as a solo display. In fact, the listener is the true soloist.

— Libby Larsen
 
To rent this piece, please visit C.F. Peters.

Filter By