Symphony no.4 - symphony orchestra 2016-17

1. Brooding
2. Rich, sombre, intense, slow
3. Allegro molto
4. Scurrying

duration 33 minutes

This symphony opens in somewhat brooding, unsettled mood (an idea that struck in Peterborough Cathedral - divine assistance?). An extended, serious 'cello and cor anglais melody is set against eddying wind-like whirls. These two elements dominate the movement, though they are eventually interrupted, almost disrupted by a mixture of climactic fury and somewhat ironic episodes.

The slow movement is bathed in a rich expansiveness with sweeping piano arpeggios underpinning arching melodic phrases on the 'cellos. In time a small repeated note, slightly stuttering figure takes over. A brief, graceful dance follows but is cut short by a slow building of tension, eventually straining its way to a return of the opening idea, now with the whole string section in rich unison. This dissolves away.

The scherzo that follows is Beethovenian in character but seemingly in a state of being torn apart by its own furious energy. Cross-rhythms, abound in a scherzo-cliché typhoon. Small moment sof semi-repose offer false hope of some stability but the movement never relents.

The finale offers no relief - again at a helter skelter there are elements of Shostakoich 9th, Prokofiev 7th, Janacek in Mladi mode as the music hurtles along. Eventualy a brass chorale appears with chirpy piccolo taunting. A snare drum joins in, but eventually the main musical hunt is rejoined. A tranquil section offers a small oasis before the whirlwind becomes all consuming and explodes into orchestral tutti. Only in the very last few bars does there seem to be a final possibility of resolution.



Scoring: Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Cor Anglais, 2 Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Percussion (Triangle, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Tubular Bells, Glockenspiel, Cymbals, Suspended Cymbal, Celeste, Tam-Tam), Harp, Piano, Strings

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