Symphony No. 7

Sydney Hodkinson

Duration: 00:22:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

This symphony began life as two separate movements: one slow, the other moderately fast; but, as work progressed, the two strands became irrevocably intertwined, both thematically and harmonically Accordingly, what emerged was one lengthy single movement, yet one which can still be perceived as the interlocking of the two principal tempi: slow/fast/slow/fast/CODA.

The opening Largo (I) grows into the Allegro (II) but before the former has completed its journey, so it returns (III), interrupting the Allegro in turn to reach its own climactic point. The Allegro itself (IV) is unrelenting however, and subsumes and dissipates the slow movement in its drive to closure. A final Coda (V), born from all the earlier material, brings the work to a vociferous end.

The principal materials are extremely limited and consist of four mottoes generated from the names of the two dedicatees: ascending perfect fifths and minor sixths, sforzandi major and minor thirds, plus a recurrent seven-beat rhythmic pattern that pervades the entire piece, first as an undercurrent (?misterioso?), and finally as a propulsive gesture which impels the Coda forward. The design evolves, often with development intruding even as the material is being presented, into one large Sonata Movement.

The subtitle is excerpted from two poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson - ?Break, break, break? and ?In Memoriam A.H.H.? - which perhaps speak more eloquently than any musical analysis:

??But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,
At the foot of the crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

I held it truth, ?
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.

But who shall so forecast the years
And find in loss a gain to match?
Or reach a hand through time to catch
The far-off interest of tears?
(ca. 1850)

Symphony No. 7 is approximately 22 minutes in duration and is scored for the standard American Wind Ensemble, with a major role assigned to obbligato piano. It was commissioned by a consortium of forces - (13 Wind Ensembles from Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ohio, and Texas) - to honor Vincent Persichetti?s memory and to pay homage to Frederick Fennell on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

The score is dedicated to these two musicians, both of whom had a profound effect, not only on my own early musical training specifically, but also on the nation?s wind ensemble programs in general.

The work was composed in August-October 1991 in Ormond, Florida, and the scoring completed in April of 1992 in Fairport, New York. The first performance will be given by the consortium commissioners during the 1992-93 concert season.

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by a consortium of 13 wind ensembles.
Composition Date 1991
Orchestration 4 3 6(EbCl./B.Cl./Cb.Cl.) 3 S.Sax. A.Sax. T.Sax. Bar.Sax - 4 4 3 2 2Bar.; Timp. 5Perc. Pno. Cb.
Premiere November, 1992. University of Missouri Wind Ensemble, Gary Hill, conductor; Kansas City, MO, and other co-commissioners during the 1992-93 concert season.


Grave - Largo
Allegro Moderato
Largo - Grave
Comodo - Allegro Moderato
Coda: Allegro-Vivace

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