River Song

Robert Maggio

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Quick Overview

"River Song" is a pastorale, with such typical features and 6/8 meter in moderate time, dotted rhythms, and prevalent fifths in the bass voices. The eight wind instruments, by virtue of their coloristic associations, evoke the presence of man in nature; and perhaps they evoke the spirit of nature itself. The image of a river, both literally and metaphorically, guided me through the composition process. "River Song" began as a response to violence and the struggles of urban living?I was also 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.? The main musical idea?a long arching melody?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.

Composed in Philadelphia, June 1996 through January 1997, "River Song" was commissioned by the Detroit Chamber Winds; funded by grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Faculty Development Council, and the Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program of the American Music Center, made possible through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Helen F. Whitaker Fund and Chase Manhattan Bank.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Detroit Chamber Winds; funded by grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Faculty Development Council, and the Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program
Composition Date 1997
Duration 00:13:00
Orchestration 2Ob. 2Cl. 2Bsn. 2Hn.
Premiere 2nd March, 1997. Detroit Chamber Winds, Birmingham Unitarian Church, Troy, Michigan.