First Performance: December 1990
by the International Chamber Orchestra
Jung Ho Pak, musical director
Symphonic Suite was composed at the urging of conductor Jung Ho Pak, based on the success of the previous year's Dance Symphony. Once again, the main thematic material came out of my experience accompanying ballet and modern dance classes and performances.
The opening movement opens with gusto in the style of an 18th century Concerto Grosso — with alternation between tutti (ripieno) and soli (concertino) ... but soon enough the modal elements, quirky phrasing and colorful orchestration make it clear that this is not your great-great-great-GREAT grandfather's baroque composition.
II. Soft Breeze Over Moonlit Lake is, as the title suggests, rather Zen-like in its simplicity, directness, and sparse texture. The tonality is left unresolved ...
III. Pastorale shares with its namesake Beethoven's 6th Symphony, a rustic, peasant quality, further evidence of its origins in the dance world. Possibly my visit to the Renaissance Faire didn't hurt, either.
The final movement begins with a continuation of the pastoral mood of the previous movement — but that mood is soon interrupted by a more forward-looking, almost heavy metal kind of vibe. The final measures, again unresolved, simply trail off into the distance ...
Composition of Symphonic Suite was generously supported by a grant from Meet the Composer.