I have been "away" for the last 6 months or so, working on finally completing my "Sinfonia Canadensis" (Symphony no.2) opus 36.
It has been a long and arduous process. I had very very specific images for each movement, and I was simply blocking at setting them down in more detail than the outlines I already had.
Having my trombone concerto premiered last year (and a repeat in Seattle next September) seems to have "unblocked" me. I spent a great deal of time working with that conductor, and we spent many long hours in discussion of all things musical.
I am posting the movements sort of in reverse order, the two final movements first, as I have already posted the three earlier movements before.
Quick description of the two final movements which were completed recently:
IV - Pacific Interlude (Mist and Mountains)
Pacific rain forests, green, dark, moist and full of life, your eyes pan upward and the vistas of the Canadian Rockies open to you. Snow-capped mountains, massive and majestic, extending as far as the eye can see, a north-south barrier before we reach the pacific ocean, which fades off into the west.
V - Northern Variations
Theme, Variation I (Tundra - craggy, harsh, dissonant), Variation II (Little Paws - scurrying, multiplying, life that defies all odds), Variation III (The Great Whale - breaches the water's surface, life-bringer of the Innu), Variation IV (Inuksuk - Man, alone in the vast whiteness of the Far North, settlements separated by floes of ice), Variation V (The North Wind - harsh, dissonant, a blast of destruction, it swirls all around, sometimes growling, sometimes softly whispering), Variation VI (Sunrise / Spring - beginning softly, Winter breaks, life quietly returns, and the sun breaks the horizon, and rises after months of darkness).
There is a lot of musical symbolism in this symphony. Some themes have specific meanings to me, and thus return at certain moments to highlight "events" in the music (for example, there are two main themes which return in varied form: "Man", and "Nature". Both are stated clearly as the main musical material of the 1st movement. But then they return in various forms in the subsequent movements, notably, the "Man" and "Nature" themes form the basis of much of the material of the finale).
The three previous movements are:
Forêts boréales / Northern Forests
Prairies (Dawn, the harvesters, sunset)
Maritimes (Waves and shoreline)