Stephen Jaffe

Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

On a purely musical level, "Autumnal" might be described as a fantasy about metamorphosis. On a metaphorical level, the work is a meditation about the twofold rhythmic nature of autumn, which is comprised of two elements: an underlying rhythm of gradual change, and an upper stream of more spectacular, quickly changing periodic rhythms. The first of these might be said to represent the finite time screen against which our changing emotions, both reflective and ectastic, are played out.

Three kinds of music predominate "Autumnal": a wandering kind of music first heard in the solo violas and woven into the other instruments; a reflective, childlike music heard in a poised moment in the oboe, harp, and muted trumpet; and a very quick music which dominates the middle of the piece. Each of these is played out and metamorphosed against the changing background of the basic autumnal rhythm. Flowing music, is, for example, transformed into steadily driving rhythmic music, reflective music becomes the background for a quicksilver scherzo and scherzando music is transformed, becoming the filigree for a new texture combining fast and slow musics.

Autumnal was commissioned by the New Hampshire Symphony, whose conductor, James Bolle, led the first performances with the orchestra in November of 1986. In addition, work on the piece was supported by a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. "Autumnal" bears the dedication ?to my fr

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the New Hampshire Symphony.
Composition Date 1986
Duration 00:23:00
Orchestration 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2 - 4 2 2 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
Premiere November 1986. New Hampshire Symphony, James Bolle, conductor.