Choral Symphony No. 3

for Alto Solo, Bass Baritone Solo, SATB Chorus and Orchestra

Henri Lazarof

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Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The Choral Symphony is the third, and by far the most ambitious, collaboration between Henri Lazarof, Gerard Schwarz, and the Seattle Symphony. It was preceded by Poema, a lyrical work for orchestra (premiered March 10, 1986 in Seattle), and Tableaux (after Kandinsky), for piano and orchestra (premiered January 8, 1990 in Seattle with Garrick Ohlsson as piano soloist). The Choral Symphony was composed in Lucerne and Los Angeles between October 1992 and May 1993.

Lazarof considers the Choral Symphony a milestone in his creative career, the culmination of an internal need, prepared for ? though only indirectly ? by such works as Tableaux (1989) and the Second Cello Concerto (1991). Both of these found their inspiration in objects extramusical, the former in the art of Kandinsky and the latter in a poem by Rimbaud. Neither work, however, was meant to be ?programmatic? in a literal sense, for the paintings and the poem served primarily as catalysts to launch the composer?s creative instincts. In the Choral Symphony as well, the fundamental core upon which the completed work is built is nonmusical: the text. After Lazarof was commissioned by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony to write a large work for chorus and orchestra, he began a long, and as it turned out, fruitless, search for an appropriate text to set. Throughout his search, and without a text at his disposal, he was nevertheless settling in his own mind certain basic musical aspects that would ultimately determine the work?s structure: among other things he decided that, because of his preference for the lower ranges of female and male voices, his soloists should be an alto and a bass-baritone. As the composer recalls, the inspiration for an appropriate text of his own came to him quite suddenly and without warning. He seized the occasion and wrote it out in one sitting.

The text is difficult and intensely personal, reflecting as it does, the composer?s experiences and memories of them, some of which are tinged with darkness. Technically, the four poems that are set in movements II, III, IV, and V are a linguistic jumble and employ no traces of traditional usage of language. Lazarof is polyglot, and the languages appearing, or inferred, in the text are Latin, Italian, French, Hebrew, English, Bulgarian, Russian, and German. In choosing, inventing, and altering words, the composer was conscious of the importance of vowel sounds for the singing voice. For example, the second line of the poem ?Rev

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1992
Duration 00:52:20
Orchestration 4 4 4(B.Cl.) 4(Cbsn.) - 6 4 3(Bb.Tbn.) 1; Timp.(2Sets) 2Perc. 2Pno. 2Hp. Str.
Premiere 7th, 8th November 1994. Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Chorale conducted by Gerard Schwarz, Sheila Nadler, Alto, Terry Cook, Bass-Baritone