Impromptus

Steven Stucky

Rental
Performing Ensemble: Orchestra
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Like Chopin's short piano pieces of the same title, each of the four movements of my "Impromptus" presents a vivid, immediately apprehensible musical "character." Each movement contrasts sharply with the next. (Unlike their Chopin namesakes, however, these pieces are not improvisations, either real or simulated.) Although a respectable modernist pedigree for such suites of short orchestral pieces could be traced to Schoenberg, Berg and Webern in the early years of last century, I am content with the earlier, less pretentious, less angst-ridden tradition of the character piece: Chopin, Schumann?s "Album Leaves", the intermezzos of Brahms, and Mendelssohn's "Songs without Words".

Indeed the first of my "Impromptus" is precisely a song without words, presented in a mostly straightforward texture, in which short phrases of melody are set against a backdrop of arpeggiated chords. The second movement is dance-like. The third, a full-fledged slow movement, harbors the emotional crux of the set. The fourth is humorous (its attempts at bluster are not to be taken seriously) and it contains broad, affectionate winks at Igor Stravinsky, the most influential of my musical "ancestors."

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Scores & Parts

Impromptus - Full Score - Study

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Saint Louis Symphony
Composition Date 1991
Duration 18:00
Orchestration 3 2(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3 - 4 4 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
Premiere 26 April 1991. Saint Louis Symphony, Leonard Slatkin, conductor, Saint Louis, MO.

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