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Symphony I (Cravens)

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Paul Cravens

Paul Cravens


General Info

Year: 2016
Duration: c. 45:00
Difficulty: V+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Paul Cravens
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $500.00; (digital) - $500.00   |   Score Only (print) - $128.00


Movements

1. Larghetto – 14:00
2. Moderato – 13:30
3. Lento – Allegro – 12:30


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Contra-Bassoon
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Flugelhorn
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Piano
Synthesizer
Timpani
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Bongos
  • Chimes
  • Conga
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba
  • Ride Cymbal
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tom-Tom, large (2)
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

An original work of epic scope and dramatic tone, with strong roots in both the Romantic and cinematic styles. Memorable themes are woven together with bold textures to create a transcendent listening experience.

- Program Note by publisher


Symphony No. 1 emerged from three short themes I composed during my freshman year at Concordia College. Although I didn’t have any particular plans for them at the time, I knew I would eventually turn them into something much larger, and I kept them in my sketchbook for several years until the time was right. That opportunity came in the form of my final composition project at the University of New Hampshire, and over the course of a year the piece grew from its original sketch to this fully realized version.

Of the three tunes, the sprightly opening of the second movement came first; the primary themes for each of the first and third movements were separate attempts at crafting a slow introduction to complement it. However, I quickly realized that developing any of those themes to their fullest extent warranted more skill than I yet possessed as a composer, so I waited. As it stands now, each theme intersects and morphs into the other two, and the symphony truly comprises one interconnected whole rather than three complementary, yet separate, movements.

While the piece is quite evocative of many different emotions, visions, and scenarios, there is only one intentional extra-musical element. This occurs in the second movement and is ideally the emotional centerpiece of the entire work. The second movement is a rondo form, in ABACABA (where A is the primary theme, in three highly contrasting moods; B is a meditative chorale – first stated in part, then in full; and C is a preview of a moment yet to come). The chorale (“B”) is an instrumental statement of the Lord’s Prayer, where each articulation in the melody directly corresponds to one syllable of the text. When composing the piece I used the following variation:

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;

Thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Amen.

The first instance of this chorale is in G-flat major and only reaches the line “on earth as it is in heaven” before transitioning to the next “A” section. The second instance contains the full prayer and emerges from the moment of greatest tension in the entire symphony. It begins in a somber C minor, and horn calls from the first movement interject after “hallowed be thy name.” The text continues, and gradually more sonorities add to the initial low brass texture. An oboe solo joins at “lead us not into temptation,” and most of the instruments are present for the final crescendo at “thine is the kingdom.” The entire ensemble reaches a triumphant E-flat major on “forever” before returning to a more somber, reflective mood to conclude the prayer.

My first entry into the symphonic world displays many cinematic influences, both in scope and in tone. In the spirit of Mendelssohn and other composers who wrote “songs without words,” a fitting epithet for the piece might be “score without film.” There’s definitely a narrative here, but it is one that neither words nor images can unravel. Rather, it is a journey to take, a place to go and explore. From intimate to cosmic, from delicate to overwhelming, this sort of music speaks for itself in ways that are simultaneously ineffable and specific.

- Program Note from score


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources