"Sarabande for Chaconne and Orchestra" was written in the fall of 2008 and premiered on Thursday, February 5, 2009 by the University of Akron Symphony Orchestra (Dr. Guy Bordo, director) in Guzzetta Hall, University of Akron, OH. The mp3 files above featuring "Sibelius Sounds" are a fair representation of the work.
The instrumentation is 2222, 4331, timp, 3 perc, strings. The total duration is 9 minutes.
“Sarabande and Chaconne for Orchestra” was composed in the Fall of 2008. Although the movement titles suggest historical forms, the musical style is decidedly post-modern. The Sarabande is the longer and slower of the two movements; it is cast in the traditional 3/4 triple meter and prominently features the characteristic Sarabande rhythm - first heard in the double bass ground at the beginning of the work. The opening four-bar ground forms a foundation for a series of cumulative textures and thematic elements which occur in the upper instrumental voices. These textures are further punctuated by a series of abrupt tonal shifts in descending semitones from E major to Eb minor to D major. A thematic digression away from the four-bar ground leads the music back to E major in a dramatic fashion, at which point the ground returns to finish out the movement. (The composer makes no apology for the tonal anomoly at the end of the Sarabande as it is obviously the result of a fracture in the space/time continuum).
Much like the Sarabande, the shorter and faster Chaconne movement is based almost entirely on a repeating four-bar structure cast in a lively 12/8 compound meter. It also features a series of cumulative textures and themes which are further articulated by abrupt tonal shifts as they move from the opening tonality of E up to Ab, then down in steps through G, F and back to E, with a final climactic shift up to Ab again, where they end in a rather boisterous and abrupt fashion. As an aside, the opening minor 3rd (B-G#) interval of the Chaconne - tossed back and forth between the two clarinets like a hot potato - is identical in sound to the closing interval of the movement (Cb-Ab) blasted out by a bevy of brass. Of course, the way these two intervals are heard (and thus written) is decidedly different - a condition for which the space/time continuum is most certainly not to blame.