Fanfares & Laments


Orchestra;;2 Pc;Pf;Str
Commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
First performance: April 9, 2005 - Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Kahane, cond., Glendale, California

Program notes: 

            Fanfares & Laments, commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and its commissioning club, Sound Investment, was begun in May, 2004 and completed in January, 2005.  At several points during its composition I had the experience of sharing the work-in-progress with a sizable group of sound investors.  For me these sessions were very unique: fun, scary, exhilarating - you name it.  I would like to offer my gratitude to LACO and Sound Investment for the chance to participate in this adventure.

            Fanfares & Laments is a symphony in one movement for virtuoso orchestra lasting about twenty-five minutes.  It opens with declamatory, fanfare-like music in the higher strings, punctuated by chords in the rest of the orchestra.  An aggressive fast section follows which features syncopated music in the brass; thick, jabbing chords; and, later, overlapping descending scale passages in a trio of violins.  An extended lament for solo violin follows - a slow movement in this compressed symphonic form.  The next large section (the third movement) is a scherzo featuring piccolos, piano and mallet percussion, and later harmonics in the violins and violas, with two kinds of fanfare music in the brass.  After this is a small set of variations.  The theme, a lament, is first presented in a quartet of violas and cellos, passing to piano and mallet percussion before moving to the double reeds and then to the whole orchestra in a series of cascading chords.  The finale begins in a quick tempo, returning to music heard in the first ‘movement’ before ending with a recollection of the violin lament - now in solo bassoon - and fragments of distant fanfares in the brass, all supported by soft, sustained, gentle, elegiac chords in the strings. 

            On a personal level, Fanfares & Laments suggests an individual journey by ‘the hero with a thousand faces’ in these turbulent times.  

            - Donald Crockett