SYMPHONY NO. 1, Lake Voices
Commission: Akron Symphony Orchestra, Alan Balter, cond.; underwritten by John S. Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts
Premiere: Akron Symphony, Tania Leon, guest conductor, Akron, OH, October 25, 1997
Duration: 16 minutes
Instrumentation: 3 (picc) 2 E.H. 3(3rd dbl on bcl) 2(cbsn.); 4331; timp., 3 perc., hp, strings
Walking near the lake, there seem to be mysterious messages in the wind about the wonder of the water and its eternal necessity to sustain life, about the lake’s infinite, timeless energy, its sparkling beauty, its calmness, its uncontrollable wildness, its pleasure for people, with images of water and sun, boats, shores filled with sun-bathers, as well as an awareness of the trash along the shore, the pollution in the water and in the air above it. This work is a reaction to these various voices from the lake. Ringing bells are a continuous presence. Perhaps they are ringing to praise the beauty of the lake, and perhaps to toll the alarm, to toll the warning, to call people to action.
Symphony No. 1 is in the form of three connected movements. In the first movement, rhapsodic melodies and sparkling sonorities conjure up images of the lake interspersed with fragments of the melody developed in the second movement. The melody of the second movement is flavored by my own background growing up in the Dutch-American environment of the Great Lakes and the strange mix in the Dutch people of the almost mystical bond with the lake and a love of its beauty, juxtaposed against their somewhat reserved, practical, and sometimes rigid side. The last movement is rhythmical and optimistic. Symphony No. 1 was commissioned by the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Alan Balter, conductor, and underwritten by the John S. Knight and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment For the Arts.