Eyerly on Symphonic Music
"The orchestra always fascinated me. As I teenager, I'd sneak into Ravinia to hear the Chicago Symphony's summer concerts.
Later I took a grunt job at Juilliard as an orchestra librarian, just to put music on the stands, so I could learn how everyone was positioned, and observe rehearsals.
Once I wanted to be a conductor. Fortunately for everyone I didn't pursue it, but I do think like a conductor. In the same way that a rock star wanna-be plays 'air guitar,' when I'm composing I 'air conduct,' even for non-orchestral pieces. I imagine I'm cueing, trying to coax sound out of the space..." Scott Eyerly
Duration 7 minutes.
Commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony. Premiere, Carnegie Hall, conducted by David Alan Miller.
From the program note: "The New York Youth Symphony told me two things: my piece must be short, and would lead off the program. I immediately felt the work should be lively and exuberant, a festive 'opener.' As a friend told me, 'Fill this place,' while he gestured to the ceiling of Carnegie Hall..."
Forces: 2-2-2-2, 4-2-3-0, Timpani, Strings.
Variations on a Theme by Honegger
Duration 30 minutes.
Winner, the Louisville Orchestra New Music Prize. First performed by the Louisville Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Leighton Smith.
From the program note: "One day, when I was sixteen, I heard two attractive violinists play Arthur Honegger's Sonatine pour deux violons. For some reason I was struck by a short theme in the opening Allegro. I imagined a large orchestra piece based on this fragment, having at the time no conception of what was required to write such a piece! In fact years would pass before I started...
The first three notes of Honegger's theme outline a chord which, like a ghost, 'haunts' my piece. The Introduction begins with it and every variation ends with it. This 'ghost' also makes the pitch Adominate the work. But surprisingly, Honegger's theme ends one half step higher, on A sharp. In my Finale, the work is at last forced up to A sharp and the 'ghost chord' is 'exorcised'"...
Forces: 3 Flutes (3rd also Piccolo)-2 Oboes-English Horn-3 Clarinets (3rd also Bass Clarinet)-3 Bassoons (3rd also Contrabassoon)-4 Horns-3 Trumpets-2 Tenor Trombones-Bass Trombone-Tuba-Timpani-Percussion (4 players)-Harp-Strings.
for solo violin and orchestra
Duration 10 minutes.
A single-movement work, "not a concerto in the virtuosic sense, but rhapsodic, like the Romances of the 19th Century filtered through a modern sensibility..."
Forces: 2 (2nd also Piccolo)-2-2-2, 2-0-0-0, Timpani, Percussion (1 player), Strings.