Program Note:

The draft of my Ninth Symphony was completed during two weeks in February 2008, while I was a resident composer at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts – an artist colony I have visited often - located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. The orchestration was completed in June 2009.

The genesis of the work came about in discussions with maestro Klauspeter Seibel, during the period in 2006-’07 when he was conducting three of my recent works with the Louisiana Philharmonic, Nashville and Kansas City Symphonies. As a contrast to my earlier works, he suggested an evolving five-movement form as a possible conception for my next symphony. And so, this is what I have composed.

The first movement is rather brief – an introductory Adagio that starts off in a rather Brahmsian way, and leads to a concise waltz-like Andantino. The music builds to a climax, culminating with a harp glissando before coalescing to a return of the waltz theme, featuring the solo violin.

Movement two is a light-hearted Scherzo I - Allegretto (jaunty) in a playful/humorous vein, featuring solos for the various winds, celesta, piano, xylophone and harp.

The third and fifth movements – Adagio mesto (slowly and deeply moving) and Adagio misterioso respectively - utilize the flügelhorn, an alto trumpet that’s actually the highest-pitched member of the tuba family. The instrument possesses a lyrical and very mellow pure brass tone. I was transfixed when Klauspeter and I heard it in an after-hours jazz club in Kansas City. I then and there decided to use it in my new work.

The fourth movement is the Scherzo II – Allegro ma non troppo, (not too fast) and is in stark contrast to the charm and lightness of its more refined sibling in movement two. This one is boisterous and powerful, though there is a brief calm middle section featuring cascading bi-tonal harmonies in the solo piano. The ending is almost violent with its accumulating energy and accelerating tempo.

In keeping with the evolving form conception, the first four movements are played attacca, meaning without pause. After the spent energy of Scherzo II, there is a break before the final Adagio misterioso, which, in cyclical fashion, brings back themes from the previous movements, transformed and encapsulated in a nostalgic reminiscence of all that came before, ending as softly as possible.

My Ninth Symphony is dedicated with great affection to maestro Klauspeter Seibel, who tragically passed away on January 8, 2011, 2 ½ months after the premiere in New Orleans.

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