HEARTLAND for orchestra (2017)

North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra


2/2/2/2 - 4/3/3/1 - timp./3 perc./piano/ strings

Duration: 20 minutes

Heartland was written for the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, Miskolc at the request of conductor David Curtis who wanted a new composition incorporating American folk music. While Heartland does not quote any folksongs directly, much of the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic material alludes to the plurality of folk music in the Americas.

Like many of my compositions, Heartland is influenced by natural sounds, infused with the kinetic syncopated rhythms of jazz, rock and world musics. Orchestral color is enhanced by the use of Latin percussion instruments including the maracas, marimba, claves, congas, and guiro. Driven by a continuous motor rhythm, the first movement is a spirited, expansive soundscape of the American west. The second movement is at first a dark and pensive Nocturne which gives way to emerging light and tranquility. The buoyant and animated final movement is marked by several Latin rhythms including the Brazilian Samba and Baião (3+3+2). An exuberant coda in the lively Frevo rhythm closes the work.

Minimalist textures in a neo-classic setting, form the overall sonic design of the work which includes frequent 7th, 9th and 13th chords interspersed with modal passages. Both of these elements can be found in Impressionist music as well as modern jazz. The melodic gestures are often presented “in harmony” at the interval of the 7th or 9th, creating a sonic halo around the primary melody. The dissonant octatonic scale (alternating half and whole steps) divides the more consonant pandiatonic gestures which permeate the work. Klangfarbenmelodie in which a melodic gesture is initiated in one instrument or group and completed in another is also present. ~ PL

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