Symphony No.2 : ex Oceano
by Matthew Dewey (2013)
Performance by Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Jan Kučera from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 86.
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Library shelf no. CD 2889 [Available for loan]
The first movement sets the scene for the entire symphony, introducing the musical characters and the central themes - we hear the voice of the ocean, its mighty currents and sense the enormity of its scale and influence.
The second movement is characterized by a shimmering, active surface and a slower, calmer, deeper core expressing the movement and character of the vast biomass of phytoplankton blooms visible from outer space. These remarkable microscopic creatures underpin planetary metabolism, acting as carbon sinks, generating every second breath we take and much more besides.
The third movement is emotionally rather complex - it's a love letter written as if to a loved one who we know we will lose, or perhaps, have already lost. It's at once sad, longing, tender, sentimental and conflicted. It's a description of that most precious and vulnerable concept of love. The love of anything that is most important to the self - it could be your partner, your children, your family…. it could be something or someone else. It is that which you cannot abide the thought of losing - such is the intensity. This is the most important message of the symphony. We stand to lose what we cannot imagine being without. The cusp between beauty and loss; joy and fearful desolation. Simultaneously intense and spacious, personal and universal, immediate and timeless. Life and death.
The final movement is a large piece that gives voice to the passion and doubt that one might feel when thinking about the world changing in this manner. It is an attempt to pull together all of the emotion of the preceding movements together into one giant and a powerful expression of dismay - just as one might scream into a storm, there is a sense of horror and hopelessness.
But, this story is not over. Whilst the music points to what might be, it leaves space for a conclusion not yet reached - as the horror reaches its apex, the tumult of being brought to what we might term the living edge, there emerges an unexpected and uneasy calm.
This is the sound of what opportunity we have to make change.
There may not be much time, but we have to hope that there is still time.
Sydney, January 2014.
Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets in Bb, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in Bb, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), harp, celeste, strings (recommended minimum 188.8.131.52.6).
Duration: 46 min.
Written for: Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Commission note: Commissioned by Lynchpin
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Lush, late romantic textures with periodically minimalist motivic material.
- In the form/style of: Symphonies
Performances of this work
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