Sun Chanter was commissioned by the Erie Philharmonic in honor of the Orchestra’s100th Anniversary. It was premiered on November 9, 2013. The musical inspiration for Sun Chanter arose largely from the natural beauty of Pennsylvania’s Preque Isle State Park, in Erie. In particular, the iconic sunsets at Presque Isle became a central image as I composed the piece. The symbol of the sun—around which 100 orbits of the earth have taken place since the founding of the Erie Philharmonic—is contained in one anagram of the title: Sun Chanter = Cent Has Run (Century Has Run), and another, in celebratory mood: Rah Cent Sun (Rah Century Sun).
The harmonic language of Sun Chanter is largely derived from popular music styles: rock, folk-rock, jazz, and musical theater. But these sonic dialects are spoken within the context of a purely classical concert piece. They are not overt references, but part of the very language of the rhythm and harmony itself. Structurally, the piece is a series of variations on a single theme (first heard in its entirety at the beginning of the initial slow section of music), and, like a verse and chorus-style pop song “writ large,” is structured around a series of episodes (verses), and recurrences of the main theme (choruses). Sun Chanter is also an orchestral showpiece—a sort of celebration of pure orchestration itself—commemorating the very notion of an orchestral centenary.
3 Flutes (3rd doubling Piccolo)
3 Clarinets in Bb
3 Bassoons (3rd doubling Contra Bassoon)
4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in C
2 Tenor Trombones
Slap Stick (or Whip)