SYMPHONY FOR ORCHESTRA

SYMPHONY FOR ORCHESTRA

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Scoring

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Instrumentation
2+pic, 2+EH, 2+bscl, 2+cbsn; 432+bstbn,1, timp, perc(1), hp, strings, Baritone solo 4th movement
Alternate Title

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Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)
25:00
Movements
I. Un poco sostenuto
II. Scherzo
III. Adagio
IV. Keats Sonnet 7:21

Detail

Description

Boykan’ s Symphony for Orchestra is a fascinating work. In many ways,
Boykin also admits, this work is a fairly traditional four movement
symphony but with a harmonic vocabulary that speaks to Berg or
Schoenberg; much more so than in the Concerto. The confluence of a
structural form – including the use of a solo vocalist – that is fairly
traditional but with a swirling, nebulous harmonic center is a bit
unusual and is somewhat reminiscent of Mahler.

For me, the first two
movements of this Symphony are interesting and do hold the interest, but it is the second half that provide the most payoff. The fairly brief Adagio opens
with broad chord that pronounces, subsides and then provides the
material to long line, poignant melodies. The mood is generally sad or
at least ponderous and it reminded me, peripherally, of the Adagio in the Mahler ninth.

The most fascinating aspect of this piece is the closing “Keats
Sonnet”, which is essentially a song/lied for baritone and orchestra. In
this case, the Keats sonnet is his “To Sleep”, one of his most
existential and restless musings on the metaphor of death as sleep. The
tone is appropriately troubling but beautiful. The movement conjured up
moments of Berg’s Seven Early Songs to me and soloist Sanford
Sylvan performs once again, brilliantly! (Sylvan is an active performer
of contemporary vocal and operatic literature and may be known best for
his many involvements in the music of John Adams)

Martin Boykan is, clearly, a gifted and interesting composer and this
recording give us a great introduction to his music. His is the sort of
music that may not be an immediate “hit” to all listeners but it is
compelling and engaging and all should be able to listen to with great
interest. Kudos, again, to BMOP for bringing more intriguing works to
our attention.

—Daniel Coombs

Comments

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First Perfomance

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Recording
BMOP 1027
Text Language - Non English

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Text Source/Author
Keats - Sonnet - To Sleep
Ensemble Type
solo voice(s)+large ensemble or orchestra
orchestra
Genre/Theme

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Files & Media

Audio

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Video

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Sample Pages

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