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Symphony No. 1

for orchestra

Year:  2005 Instrumentation:  3*3*33*; 4331; timp. perc (bass drum, sus cymbal, xylophone); hp; strings

Year:  2005
Instrumentation  3*3*33*; 4331; timp. perc (...

Ross Harris

Composer:   Ross Harris

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Ross Harris: Symphony No. 1...

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Once upon a time (in the twentieth century) symphonies were considered 'old hat'. Today, on the other side of the modernist revolution, the form offers new challenges. This symphony takes as its starting point the fragmentation and ironic humour of Mahler and Shostakovich. Using a language that integrates a huge range of stylistic references this music unfolds with flashes of orchestral colour.

Commissioned note

Written during Harris's Composer-in-Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (2005)

Contents note

Three movements:

First Movement: this movement is full of drama and sudden changes. In keeping with symphonic tradition the opening bars contain the seeds of all its subsequent adventures.

Second Movement: this slow movement is the centrepiece of the work. Its spaciousness and relative calm is in strong contrast to the energetic outer movements. The woodwinds and brass solos unravel a long melodic line.

Third Movement: the third movement is a wild scherzo - its grotesque humour makes it something of a Pandora's box! The form makes a gesture towards traditional sonata rondo form by the musical ideas flash by at an almost alarming rate.

Performance history

25 Aug 2005: Performed by Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by Steven Smith