THE TELLING ROOMS    

YEAR

2018

 

INSTRUMENTATION

3(3.picc)23(3.bass)3(3.contra)/

4331/Timp+2perc/hp/str

 

DURATION

12 minutes

 

COMMISSIONED BY

Portland Symphony Orchestra

 

MOVEMENTS

I. The Happiest Color

II. Dressed In Red

III. Ink Wash

 

SERIES

THE TELLING ROOMS

 

FIRST PERFORMANCES

Janurary 27 and 29, 2019; 

Portland Symphony Orchestra

Eckart Preu, conductor

 PROGRAM NOTE

Color fills our lives and affects us in ways that are both direct and subtle. It has the power to bring back childhood memories, create an atmosphere, unite people or set one group against another, and fill us with joy, sadness, or hunger. Color and the written word have inspired and informed many great musical compositions and is the basis for a work that could speak to this marriage.

 

In collaboration with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Telling Room, I selected entries from the Telling Room’s annual Writing Contest for young Maine students. Given the prompt of “color,” writers were asked to create prose and or poetry that dealt with color, asked questions of it, captured rare shades, challenged the traditional meaning of color, and more. From the finalist, I selected three entries that spoke of different colors in different ways to create an orchestral triptych.

 

Each movement is concieved as a different room, with a different color and story to tell. An orchestral chaconne paints the first room in The Happiest Color of Aubrey Duplissie’s veiled allusion to tender and tragic memories of life and loss. Discordant harmonies shadow the second room in Husna Quinn’s Dressed in Red and an ominous ostinato frames a portrait of family secrets. Eliza Rudalevige’s Ink Wash showers and swirls the final room in a palette of the senses. A festivity of color and rhythm, patterns and gestures are twirled and splashed in mixed meters between instrumental families as primary colors in an orchestral game of Twister.

 

Perusal recording available by request. 

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