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Winter Scenes

for chamber orchestra

Year:  2001   ·  Duration:  15m 5s
Instrumentation:  4220 + sax; 2200 + euph; timp; hp; strings

Year:  2001
Duration:  15m 5s
Instrumentation  4220 + sax; 2200 + euph; ti...

Thomas Goss

Composer:   Thomas Goss


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This piece is a collection of impressions revolving around the mood of winter in its many aspects. It has an overall form that is not necessarily sequential: the individual movements were composed as a musical frame around a winter-themed concert program. As such, the work is intended to introduce, complement and comment rather than compete.

Yule is a tribute to the tradition of the concerto grosso, in which the leaders of each section move in and out of the fabric of the music as soloists and corps. The essence of concerted effort and celebration is also acknowledged in the title, tying together the elements of mod-ern and Baroque works in the following program in motion and style.

Dryness of Hard Frost is a reference to a description of living in Antarctica as related by New Zealand composer Chris Cree Brown. As the temperature drops, the air is steadily and relentlessly drained of moisture. In a world of frozen water, dehydration is common and the sounds of things become sharper and dryer to the ear.

Snow is Falling on Water, Wind is Blowing out to Sea carries its rhythm and meaning in the title itself. Inspired by Balkan choral music, it is a song without words about wordless regrets, lost chances, and hopes buried under cold snow awaiting the coming spring.

Pale Sun over Cold Land uses as its form an improvisatory melody over a simple, descending chord progression. In the long middle solo, elements of contemporary Western and Eastern musics are combined in synchronicity, bringing the emotional contour of the overall work toward a close with yearning and optimism.

Commissioned note

Santa Rosa Symphony Young People’s Chamber Orchestra

Contents note

Suite in four movements
1. Yule
2. Dryness of Hard Frost
3. Snow is Falling on Water
Wind is Blowing Out to Sea
4. Pale Sun over Cold Land

Performance history

17 May 2005: Performed by Slidell Youth and Community Orchestra, directed by Kimberly Hickey at Slidell Little Theatre, Slidell, Louisiana, USA