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ClassicsOnline Home » GALLAGHER, J.: Orchestral Music - Diversions Overture / Berceuse / Sinfonietta / Symphony in 1 Movement, "Threnody" (London Symphony, Falletta)
Jack Gallagher’s Symphony in One Movement: Threnody has been acclaimed by in Tune magazine as ‘enormously inventing’ and by Österreichische Musikzeitschrift as ‘a one-movement symphony of great colorfulness’. The warm, lyrical Berceuse was heralded by The Washington Post as ‘a treat’ and ‘a lovely melodic and accessible work’. The spirited Diversions Overture and Sinfonietta for String Orchestra, in five-movement arch form, complete this survey of Gallagher’s music for orchestra recorded by the London Symphony under the direction of JoAnn Falletta.
By R. James Tobin
By Steven E. Ritter
By Steven Ritter
Jack Gallagher (b. 1947)
Diversions Overture was written for the Wooster Symphony Orchestra in Ohio and given its première by that ensemble under the direction of Jeffrey Lindberg on 15 November 1986. It takes its name from my Diversions for symphonic band (1985), a three-movement work whose last movement provides the overture’s principal thematic material. Framed by a slow introduction and reflective coda, the overture progresses from quiet beginnings in solo winds to a faster, tutti passage for full orchestra. The contrasting middle section employs concertante solo strings, leading to a chorale for brass. The reappearance of the main material culminates in a final statement for full orchestra, followed by a revisiting of the slower material of the opening. Scored for two flutes (second doubling piccolo), two oboes (second doubling English Horn), two clarinets (second doubling bass clarinet), two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, two percussionists, harp and strings, the overture is dedicated with warm affection to my daughter Kelly and son Ryan. Previously it was recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic, Robert Ian Winstin, conductor, on ERM Media ERM-6709.
Berceuse is a brief, lyrical work for small orchestra. Growing out of a lullaby for piano composed in 1976 for the daughter of friends, it employs a gently rocking 6/8 pattern suggestive of the genre. Later expanded and orchestrated, the work is dedicated to my parents. Calling for winds in pairs, two horns, two trumpets, timpani and strings, Berceuse was first performed by the Hicksville (New York) Community Orchestra, Charles Gouse, conductor, and is published by Kalmus/Ludwig Masters Publications. Previously recorded by the Polish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra of Kraków with Szymon Kawalla, conductor, on Vienna Modern Masters VMM 3030, it has been broadcast widely, including fifty times by Radio Stephansdom Klassiksender, 107.3 FM, in Vienna.
Sinfonietta for String Orchestra (Editions Bim—www.editions-bim.com), completed in February 2007, was extensively revised and expanded in 2008. The Sinfonietta grew out of the earlier Two Pieces for String Orchestra, composed in 1989–90 for director Joanne Cohen and the Wooster (Ohio) String Ensemble, who presented its première at The College of Wooster. To the original Two Pieces, three movements were added in 2006–07, resulting in a five-movement scheme of fast-slow-fast-slow-fast. In this form, the work received its first performance on 10th November 2007 by the Wooster Symphony Orchestra guest-conducted by the composer. Substantive revision and expansion in 2008 profited greatly from a performance of the last three movements by the Utah Arts Festival Orchestra, Andrew Rindfleisch, conductor. The first movement Intrada, in modified sonata form, begins with a principal subject juxtaposing open-string pizzicato multiple stops with rapid passages based on the octatonic (alternating whole tones and semitones) scale. The more lyrical second subject is omitted entirely in the condensed recapitulation. The movement ends with a quiet coda, leading to the following movement. The second movement Intermezzo, a plaintive arietta in 6/8 meter, is framed by an introduction and coda featuring a small group of solo players. Movement three, Malambo, is titled for a lively Argentinian dance in compound meter, occasionally found in stylized form in the music of Alberto Ginastera. Structurally a scherzo with two trios, it features a syncopated fanfare motive in open fifths. The Pavane is a reflective, gentle movement characterized by restraint throughout. “Pavane” refers to a stately court dance in duple meter and possessing symmetrical proportions. The concluding Rondo concertante features a dance-like theme, initially in solo instruments and utilizing changing meter. Following a pizzicato introduction, the rondo theme is announced and contrasted with a yearning second subject, in triple meter, in the cellos and basses. The Sinfonietta is published by Editions Bim, Vuarmarens, Switzerland.
Symphony in One Movement: Threnody (Editions Bim—www.editions-bim.com) was completed in 1991 and revised in 2008. Commissioned, with support from the Greater Wayne County Foundation, by the Women’s Committee for the 75th Anniversary of the Wooster Symphony Orchestra in Ohio, Jeffrey Lindberg, Music Director, it is dedicated to my father and to the loving memory of my mother, who died unexpectedly while the work was in progress. Divided into two principal sections (slow and fast), the symphony progresses from expressions of loneliness and longing to resolve and assertion. Beginning softly in divided violins, the principal pitch material continually aspires to escape, via ever-broadening spirals of ambition, a prevailing sense of longing, only to be thwarted three times by threatening episodes in faster tempi. Greater rhythmic élan, edginess and even a dance-like quality characterize the faster second section. Cadenzas for harp and clarinets provide moments of repose and recollection, but the fundamental character remains animated and the work ends with a gesture of aggressive bravura. Scored for two flutes (second doubling piccolo), two oboes, two clarinets (second doubling bass clarinet), two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets (first doubling piccolo trumpet), three trombones, tuba, piano, harp, timpani, three percussionists, and strings, the symphony lasts 21 minutes and is published by Editions Bim, Vuarmarens, Switzerland. First performed on 16 November 1991 by the Wooster Symphony Orchestra guest-conducted by the composer, the symphony previously was recorded by the Koszalin Philharmonic Orchestra, Szymon Kawalla, conductor, on Vienna Modern Masters VMM 3028.
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GALLAGHER, J.: Orchestral Music - Diversions Overt...