This five-movement chamber symphony is a combination of many elements, most of which go back to music that I composed long ago (some of the material is from my student days). The main composing work was done in 1998 as a string quartet, and this was performed by four BSO friends: Jack Maguire, Kate Stear [now "Hawes"], Stephanie Chambers & Jo Koos. They called themselves "I Strumenti" String Quartet. I went to some of the rehearsals - quite lively affairs! - and for the first time in my life listened to professional performers working on one of my compositions, preparing for a live performance. The quartet was performed in St Mary's Church, Dorchester, in the summer of 1998 alongside the Dvorak piano quintet for which Duncan Honeybourne joined the group.
So, although the work still exists as a string quartet, I was never entirely at ease with it - hence I never posted it on this site (there are several substantial works that I have not included on this website). I felt particularly that the long fugue in the final movement was pretty unrelenting, somewhat austere, and needed more colour than was possible with just the four string instruments. It is, essentially, this string quartet which, scored out for a chamber orchestra [picc/fl/ob/CA/cl/bass cl/bsn/contra//2 hns/tpt/tbne/tuba//solo string quintet & strings], constitutes this work.
The opening movement has a slow introduction which presents the dominant theme; this is followed by a rhythmic allegro, which is interrupted by slow sections. The material was taken, by and large, from a trio I composed in February 1982 (there were two movements) for 2 horns & bassoon.
The second movement (material again from the 1982 trio for 2 horns & bassoon) is an intense, fugal adagio.
The third movement - "Allegro Energico" - was originally a piece for clarinet & piano composed in April/May 1981 when I was teaching in Marlborough, for David White and Charles Hickey [cl] to perform at the Calne Festival in 1981.
The fourth movement is based mostly on a movement originally written in 1979 as the middle movement of a sonatina for violin & piano - this is posted on this site, and the similarities between the two movements are easy to discern.
The last movement revolves around a fugue, originally composed when on a camping holiday in France sometime in the late 1980s. It is one of those sizeable scores that preceded Sibelius and is lost somewhere underneath the mess of books and papers that litter the basement of our home. At some point - in 1997/8 when thinking about the finale of my first string quartet - I transcribed it into the four parts in which it was originally conceived. The movement has an introduction which also serves as the first part of the coda. The movement - indeed the whole symphony - concludes with a reminder of the allegro from the first movement.
This 'performance' is once again created using the EastWest sound library.