Robert Maggio

Duration: 00:08:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"Skylines" was commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation and the Boston Pops Orchestra, in honor of the Aaron Copland Centenary. Aaron Copland?s magnificent musical evocations of both urban and pastoral America suggested the title and spirit of this energetic and soulful concert opener.

From the outset, Keith Lockhart and I discussed paying tribute to Aaron Copland in a tangible form in the music itself, so with this in mind, I constructed "Skylines" out of three melodies that relate to Copland and his embrace of American folk music. All three melodies are presented in the brief introduction. The trumpets herald the first melody, ?Animation,? a two-part anonymously-composed American folk-hymn (first published in John Wyeth?s "Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second" in 1813). After this opening fanfare by the brass section, a solo flute softly sings a phrase of the second melody, ?The Little Horses.? This famous lullaby (which Copland used in his Old American Songs, Vol. 2) returns later in the quiet, intimate middle section of the piece. At the end of the introduction section, the low brass and strings vigorously interrupt ?The Little Horses,? stating the third melody?a short motive, constructed from the letters in Aaron Copland?s name (A-A-C-A-D) which correspond to the letters in the musical scale. This is a 16th century technique known as soggetto cavato (carved subject). This jazzy five-note motive becomes a driving force in the main body of the piece where it is often picked up with a swing feel in the woodwinds and percussion.

The short three-part (fast-slow-fast) introduction is a mirror of the landscape of the whole piece. Following the introduction, the five-note ?Copland motive? and the folk-hymn take turns singing out over a bustling rhythmic energy. Their voices dissolve into a lyrical, bittersweet lullaby in the center section before returning for a rousing call-and-response in the final section.

"Skylines" was composed in Philadelphia, November 1999 through March 2000. It is dedicated to the memory of Aaron Copland, whose music has been a deep source of inspiration for me since I first began composing.

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the ASCAP FOUNDATION and the BOSTON POPS ORCHESTRA, Keith Lockhart, Conductor, in honor of the Aaron Copland Centenary
Composition Date 2000
Orchestration 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
Premiere June 14, 2000 Boston Massachusetts Boston Pops Orchestra Keith Lockhart, conductor