Spirit Musings, Violin Concerto #1 (1997)
For violin and chamber orchestra (15 players)
I: Spirited, clear and energetic
Program Note by the Composer
My favorite moment in any piece of music is that of maximum risk and striving. Whether the venture is tiny or large, loud or soft, fragile or strong, passionate, erratic, or eccentric the moment of exquisite humanity and raw soul! All art that I cherish has elements of order, mystery, love, recklessness, and desperation. For me, music must be alive and jump off the page and out of the instrument as if something big is at stake. I think of my music as nuanced lyricism under pressure.
This artistic credo leads me to examine small musical objects (a chord, a motive, a rhythm, a color) and explore them from many perspectives. These different perspectives reveal new musical potentials thus developing the musical discourse. In this manner, and in Spirit Musings in particular, my music takes on an organic, circular, self-referential character, which, at the same time, has a forward progression. As I write, I often feel that the emerging piece is the articulated search for the piece... (like it's hungry and has to play itself out in order to satisfy itself). The transformative nature of my musical progressions through temporal, harmonic, textural, registral, and timbral spaces attempt to imbue my pieces with an irrepressible sense of color, motion and rapture. I am madly in love with music and I want that energy to come across in my music. Spirit Musings was selected by Tanglewood as one of the 15 best works that was performed during the first 10 years of Seiji Ozawa Hall and as a result is on the Ozawa Hall Celebration CD.
Augusta Read Thomas
Richard Dyer, Boston Globe, 21 July 2003
"Augusta Read Thomas's Spirit Musings is exploratory and rewarding. All music moves sequentially through time, but each movement of this piece seems entirely and simultaneously present while the composer leads the listener's ear around and over it. The second movement investigates an interval, the third a kind of whorl of sound; the whole piece is like a silver globe struck by the sun."
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