River Song —1997

Commissioned and premiered by the Detroit Chamber Winds, conducted by the legendary H. Robert Reynolds, River Song was recorded by Orchestra 2001, conducted by James Freeman.

Program Notes:

River Song is a pastorale, with such typical features as 6/8 meter in moderate time, dotted rhythms, and prevalant fifths in the bass voices.  While there is nothing directly programmatic about the piece, the image of a river, both literally and metaphorically, guided me through the composition process.  Wind instruments have often been associated with the outdoors, with nature (particularly the horn and the oboe).  These instruments evoke the presence of man in nature—perhaps they evoke the spirit of nature itself.  River Song began as a response to violence and the struggles of urban living—I was exploring these struggles in another piece the same year, Revolver, for brass quintet and drums, inspired by Jim Jarmusch’s comic and violent film “Dead Man.”  In River Song, the main musical idea—a long arching melody in the horns—is first heard in fragments, inexact repetitions, like organic seedlings which sprout in tiny bursts of growth, layered, of varying lengths and speeds, flowing over one another, fractal images, all made of the same shape at different magnifications.