Two Poems

for Orchestra

Gerald Levinson

Rental
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The first movement, headed by a fragment from Rilke ??breathing of statues?,? is a mountain piece, written after travels in the Hautes Alpes around Mont Blanc and in the Dauphine amid the glaciers of La Meije. The immense slowness, massive brass chorales, and dense, multilayered textures evoke the solemnity and majesty of the high peaks. There are also references to the deep-bass chanting, with ?chords? of harmonics, of Tibetan monks ?another mountain music. A further alpine image, suggested by the intensely white light of the snow fields, is the superimposition of ?upper resonances? over the principal harmonies, in the form of very high, clear ?white? chords (containing all seven notes of the major scale).

The second movement is a rhythmic piece, dominated by bell sounds and sinuous melodic lines suggesting primitive folk dances. A slower middle section juxtaposes thick brass chords, woodwind arabesques, and percussion interjections, followed by a development combining elements from both sections. The opening material then returns in the original faster tempo. The climax suddenly breaks off, revealing a distant string chord, an echo of the brass chorales from the first movement. In the ensuing slow coda the dance-like melodies reappear, transformed and greatly slowed, over wind harmonies derived from the brass chorales. Other elements from both movements return briefly as the music becomes ever simpler and more transparent.

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Additional Information

Duration 00:19:00
Orchestration 3 3 4 3 - 3 4 3 1; 4Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
Premiere Original version premiere: May, 1976. Paris Conservatory Orchestra, Gerard Akoka, conductor, Salle Gaveau, Paris. Revised version premiere: April 15, 1987. New Jersey Symphony, Hugh Wolff, conductor; Carnegie Hall, New York, NY.