Celebration for Orchestra

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Performing Ensemble: Orchestra
Duration: 10:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"Celebration for Orchestra" was commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of the inaugural concerts of the Circle Theater on October 12 and 13, 1984.

In writing this work I was motivated by three complementary goals. First, I wanted to celebrate a joyous and historic occasion with all of its inspiring symbolism of beginning and renewal. The celebratory image that consistently came to me was the ringing of bells, so I allowed the work to issue from this image. Sometimes there is a very clear musical image of ringing bells, as in the beginning (in the trumpets, strings and percussion). Often, however, the association is more abstract as in the theme (that first appears in the cellos, violas and bassoon) which seems to arise from the striking of great low-sounding bells and rises to the harmonies that build from simple to complex through the overlapping of sonorities, to phrases and instrumentation that approximate the amorphous ending of a bell-sound. Of course, whatever the dramatic impetus of a musical work, once underway, a purely musical development begins to occur and this is true of "Celebration for Orchestra".

My second goal was to write a kind of ?toccata? or test-piece for the new Circle Theater. Like an 18th Century organ toccata, "Celebration" for orchestra offers a wide variety of sounds, in this case from very, very soft to very, very loud (and many shades in-between) and from very low to very high and from legato to staccato. I thought of "Celebration for Orchestra" as an introduction of the hall to the orchestra and vice-versa!

Finally, I wanted to celebrate the orchestra itself, which is, after all, the centerpiece of the occasion. Thus, "Celebration for Orchestra" is like a ?mini? Concerto for Orchestra, featuring some of the outstanding soloists in the ensemble, highlighting the various sections, and calling for the highest degree of virtuosity and artistry from the entire ensemble.

As a token of greatest respect, "Celebration for Orchestra" is dedicated to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Music Director, John Nelson.

Scores & Parts

Celebration - Full Score - Study

Additional Information

Composition Date 1984
Orchestration 4 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Str.