Orchestral Abstractions (Sydeman, William Jay)

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Rickshinozaki (2017/9/14)

Publisher. Info. William Jay Sydeman
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General Information

Work Title Orchestral Abstractions
Alternative. Title
Composer Sydeman, William Jay
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 3 movements:
1. Allegro con fuoco
2. Largo doloroso
3. Presto
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 1957
First Publication. 1964
Dedication "For the little boy"
Average DurationAvg. Duration 15 minutes
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Modern
Piece Style Modern
Instrumentation Orchestra: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons
4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba
timpani, percussion, celesta, piano, strings

Misc. Comments

The Orchestral Abstractions was written in 1957. The dedication reads “For the little boy” and, indeed, my boy Bill (“I will see that he's named after me, I will”) was born that year. It’s rather a fearsome piece for a little fellow to be saddled with, but he seems to have survived it nicely... as a matter of fact, he is founder and director of the Farallon Institute which, I believe, makes a significant contribution to saving the planet, if not my music (whatever that means). As a matter of fact it could mean something for when the Orchestral Abstractions was first premiered, the New York Times declared that of all the new pieces played that season this one seemed most deserving to become part of the standard repertoire.

The piece reflects my love of early Schoenberg and Alban Berg and, oddly enough, also seems to have a touch of Americana in its rhythmic language. It does indeed get performed now and again, usually in Europe, where its brooding pan-tonal language has been more assimilated into the culture.

– W. Jay Sydeman