Symphony 8 A minor Opus 41 Uplifted
The Symphony No. 8 in A Minor; Opus 41 - The Uplifted Movement One - Adagio 18:28 "This work has a definite program to it's content", says the composer, Michelle Ende'. "As with many composers of major works, program, or story, is a way to get at the emotional heart of the work. It does not necessarily dictate the work's form, content, or even presentation, but instead acts as an underlying force which propels the work in a certain direction." The Symphony Number Eight begins in a quiet, meditative way, telling the story of two lovers who meet, fall in love, and conceive a child, a hero, maybe a heroin. The movement embodies the passions of the two lovers in the two solo cellos which intertwine their melodies around each other. Clarinets, Bassoons, and Flutes set a meditative, peaceful setting in which the two lovers culminate their passion. This is the beginning of the work, and tells us of the beginnings of greatness. The composer says, in her notes, "that this is the story of two magnificent beings meeting for the first time, discovering who they are in the love they create." The work is sectioned off into the solo cellos thematic performance, which is picked up in the second section by the strings. A third section states a new theme here. One of sadness and regret. Unlike traditional symphonic form, there is no development, only a statement of the two great themes; one of passion and one of sadness, suggesting that the love ends. The composer does not comment on this in her notes, and so we have no way of knowing. But the listener knows, as always, that there is a story here, a slight variation on the first theme, and representing a sadness. This third section is transported to the brass and strings in a great farewell, perhaps to youth, to love, to life itself. Whatever the answer, it is safe to assume that the love has faltered somehow and what remains are memories, spent passion, and the coming of a child - a hero. Movement Two - Presto 10:16 Timpani open this work with immediate movement in the strings, and winds, depicting travel. In the composer's notes, Ms. Ende' alludes to the presence of rumors of the coming of the hero. The movement is a depiction of the spread of rumor among the citizens of the nation. Here and there are sprinkled, in the slower theme, the seeds of rumination. Overall though, the movement presses on with the Trumpet announcing the theme yet again among staccato Cellos, giving way to the winds, developing a backdrop for a trumpet variation on the theme. A development section ensues and the theme is worked in this movement in ways the themes did not get worked in the first movement. A slow climax is built until the movement comes to an end in the same way it began, with Timpani pounding in the distance. Movement Three - Allegro Non Troppo 19:29 The coming of the hero is announced with great celebration and the towns and villages, the cities and centers of commerce turn out to greet the arrival of the hero in all their glory. The movement begins with this celebration in strings with great chords by the brass. A Center Section ensues in which some of the theme is developed and worked, which climaxes to a restatement of the opening as introduced by the Timpani in rolls and hits, echoing the second movement, only a little quicker in tempo, which eventually gives way to another theme from the Trumpet in a more galloping tempo, struck by the lower Strings, leading to a grand "Tutti" for the orchestra. Another development section ensues in the Winds and Strings and is worked with slowly evolving Brass taking the theme. The Brass carries this to it's triumphant conclusion. Movement Four - Andante Cantabile 7:10 This movement is almost an antitheses of the preceding movement. "Discordant and introspective, this movement depicts the weight of leadership on the hero. The lengthy days, the sacrifice of personal dreams, and the eventual swallowing of oneself to the greater good." So the composer's notes state. "The hero can be seen pacing the great halls of leadership, the bells tolling the time and toil of leadership; the strife and pain of loneliness that often comes with the authority of decision." This is a finely crafted piece and could stand alone if necessary. It's depiction of the loneliness and solitude of leadership is clear, with an economic use of the orchestral resources. Like leadership, the movement comes into being and fades away. Movement Five - Largo 6:60 This movement is a restatement of the third section of the first movement. "The movement is a recalling of the grand farewell of the first movement. It is the hero's memories of his childhood and the days with his mother and the gifts of youth, and all of it has gone now. I see the leader looking out a window toward his homeland, wishing for those days of laughter and joy. The leader bows his head with the weight of the present. The work ends in a grand manner, but leaving the listener with the heartache of loneliness. The Composer and The Constructionist School of Chicago Michelle Ende' was born and raised in Chicago with lifelong exposure to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Opera, and the myriad other cultural environments which existed then and thrive now in the "City of Broad Shoulders"(Carl Sandburg). It was here that Ms. Ende's musical sensibilities were formed and nurtured. Chicago has always been a source of free thinking, and it has been Dr. Ende's privilege to be a part of that heritage. The Constructionist School of Chicago was originated in Chicago by Dr. Ende' as a way to address modern composition. Rather than seeking out new tonalities, or annoying the listener with discordant snatches of thematic material, the composer has sought a new way of composing, using bits and pieces of modes, riffs, sequences, and binding them together in themes. Rather than stating themes and then working them into different forms, Dr. Ende' takes pieces of themes and weaves them together into a theme. This gives the listener a sense of the piece evolving into something greater, rather than the destructiveness of stating and then dissecting a theme until it is unrecognizable. In this manner, the listener already recognizes the theme when it reaches it's full embodiment, as the listener has heard pieces of it all along as the work progresses. In this way, Ms. Ende's composition is one of construction and evolution, rather than variation. - Peter Stanislauw for the composer.