Owl Creek: A symphonic sequence : Symphony No.1
by Fred Hill (2013)
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The inspiration is the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913?)which deals with an incident in the American Civil War, in which the author had served. His view of war,and of human affairs generally, is coloured with a barbed wit and acerbity which is in some senses peculiarly modern, but which stops short of outright cynicism. The brilliant construction of the story, which retains the reader's credulity while subtly infusing the narrative with fantasy, is preserved in the short film on the same theme, made in 1962, which also made a deep impression on me. The movements of the symphony parallel the tableaux of the story. However if I as the composer have succeeded, it is not essential to be familiar with"Owl Creek" to engage with the work.
Instrumentation: Full symphony orchestra: 3 Flutes/piccolo/alto flute 3 Oboes/3rd/Cor Anglais 3 Bb Clarinets/Bb Bass Clarinet 3 Bassoons/3rd/Contrabassoon 1 Soprano Sax Solo 2 Alto Saxes 1 Tenor Sax, 4 Horns in F 3 Trumpets in Bb 3 Trombones (2xTenor 1xBass) Tuba/Euphonium, 3-4 xTimpani (pedal type) at least 3 percussionists, Harp, Strings (max.16/12/12/10/8) Solo Soprano & Baritone, Optional;Vocal Trio (may double or replace Sax trio in Strange Constellations) Narrator (may double as Baritone soloist)
Duration: 41 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Conceived with professional orchestra in mind:contemporary idiom -tonal/atonal as required
Contents note: 1.In the Midst of Life -- 2.Abbie's Song -- 3.At A Country-House Ball -- 4.The Pursuit -- 5.A Hymn to Light and Life -- 6.Another Part of the Forest/Strange Constellations/In the Sunlit Garden/The End.
Dedication note: Dedicated to the composer's wife Christina Helen Hill
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