Dan Crozier’s Capriccio performed by Orlando Philharmonic on January 14
On Saturday, January 14, 2012, at 8:00 PM, the Orlando Philharmonic (Christopher Wilkins, conductor, with guest pianist William Wolfram) will present a concert program at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, that includes CF2 member Dan Crozier‘s Capriccio.
Also on the program will be:
Weber’s Der Freischütz Overture, Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis; and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1.
American pianist William Wolfram was a silver medalist at both the William Kapell and the Naumburg International Piano Competitions, and a bronze medalist at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. A versatile recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, he has won the respect of musicians and critics across the country and abroad. Wolfram has several recordings on the Naxos label, has played recitals in cities throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe, and has performed with dozens of the finest orchestras in the world.
Daniel Crozier (b. 1965) – Capriccio
The orchestral piece, Capriccio, is very much in keeping with my recent compositional exploration of the narrative, story-telling power of music. It was a strong interest in opera that led my purely instrumental music in this direction. The music of the great operatic literature, it seems, reaches well beyond the function of simply enhancing a drama on stage. Our perception is that this music somehow “becomes” the story that it tells, effectively taking it over, and expressing what happens on the stage in its own terms with a heightened sense of dramatic sweep and a good deal of emotional specificity. It is the music that essentially controls our experience as we are drawn into the dramatic world of a fine opera.
While it may be a bit problematic to speak of abstract orchestral music in such terms, music that exists apart from any explicit program or extra-musical reference does, I believe, have the capacity to carry on an independent narrative of its own sort, expressed using its own particular kind of syntax. In this spirit, Capriccio strives to create what might be called virtual, rather than concrete, narrative. We might even refer to it, after Mendelssohn, as an “opera scene without words,” in this case a largely comic scene, whose personae appear as musical ideas. As in other forms of drama, interest comes as a result of the way these characters relate to one another in the context of an overall plot, the way they may be transformed by the sometimes intense nature of their interaction, and the larger intensity curve that emerges as part of the process. The piece is concerned with three principal thematic ideas, which, as its title implies, establish a virtuosic atmosphere of bustling, and sometimes dancing, good-humor, not without a little suspense along the way.
The scurrying, opening idea highlights the woodwinds in its first appearance. The second is a tension building perpetual motion that precipitates the first climax. The appearance of the third idea heralds the beginning of the piece’s central episode, or “trio” section. Here the mood relaxes in a kind of swung dance for the two bassoons that is periodically interrupted by rude, mocking clarinets. The dance and the mocking figures vie for position over the course of this section in a competition that eventually lands the music in a tutti. After the trio closes it is the second idea, the perpetual motion, which returns, now quiet and mysterious in the upper register of the orchestra. This idea builds very gradually, and is developed and expanded over a longer period of time and with more intensity and athleticism than it had been earlier. The climax that it had been able to achieve during its first appearance is dwarfed by one a good deal larger here, that now coincides with the fist idea’s triumphant return. After a coda that builds quickly to yet one more culmination, the two bassoons make a failed attempt to resume their dance, summarily cut off by a final, brief reference to the piece’s opening gesture.