Holst Trope

Duration: 6 minutes

Commissioned By:
Baltimore Symphony Orcestra

May 20-22, 2016; Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore, MD

Available From:
Libby Larsen Publication (availability forthcoming)

Composer's Notes:

When Marin Alsop invited me to contribute a new work to her 10th Year Anniversary Celebration with the Baltimore Symphony, I was delighted. Her plan was that after inviting you, the audience, to suggest ideas you thought would offer inspiration to each composer involved in the project, we would read your suggestions and dibs one of your idea as the basis of our work. A few of you suggested that Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” was missing one essential planet – Earth.

I ‘dibbed’ Earth. Thinking about Holst’s hyper-romantic astrological character portraits of the planets in relationship to our perception which, 100 years later, has been completely altered through scientific technology inspired me to create my work, Earth (Holst Trope). The piece is an essay from space. I imagined moving towards Earth from 200 miles out, marveling at its ephemeral atmosphere, its delicate blues and greys, its promise of life. Then, drawing nearer, detecting not only interference in its natural order, but startling interference. Finally, moving out of the orbit and back into space, intoning an eulogy for the beauty of the earth.

I embedded references to the earth in the music: fragments of earth referenced melodies; Morse code for three words: earth, water, air; the hymn tune “For the Beauty of the Earth” and created a sense of moving towards and away from Earth, while rotating.

I am pleased to honor my long association with Marin Alsop, a brilliant conductor and an innovative human being. This project has been pure joy.

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