Some Glad Mystery

for Orchestra

James Primosch

Performing Ensemble: Orchestra
Duration: 11:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

I like to settle on a title for a new work early in the compositional process. Having a title helps me focus on what the piece is about, and lends an air of reality to the often tentative process of beginning a new score. The present case was an exception: I set out without a title, but with a clear sense that the piece would strike a tone at once ceremonial and celebratory, a kind of entrance antiphon that could serve to open a concert. The title did not appear until fairly late in the game, after most of the work was completed. I then came across the following passage in Tolstoy, describing a night sky in winter:

"And silence descended.
The stars, as though they knew no one would see them now, began to disport themselves in the dark sky: flashing bright, disappearing again, shimmering and signalling some glad mystery to one another."

The lines struck me because by "signalling some glad mystery" the stars in Tolstoy's heavens are doing what I hope to do in my music. With these fanfares, dances, and lamentations, I offer a sign both jubilant and contemplative, flashing briefly in the night sky.

Commissioned as part of a fellowship in composition from the National Endowment for the Arts, Some Glad Mystery was completed in 1992, and is dedicated to David Alan Miller.

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned as part of a fellowship in composition from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Composition Date 1992
Orchestration 3 3 3 3 -4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Hp. Str.
Premiere 4th, 5th December, 1992. Albany Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Alan Miller. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (4th) and Palace Theatre (5th).

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