In 1893, Nepomuceno created his Symphony in G minor, one of the earliest symphonies written in Brazil. The work shows Nepomuceno’s technical mastery of the compositional methods he learned all over Europe and, in particular, the influence of Brahms.
- The work, originally written for piano, shines in an orchestral arrangement. Slowly the city rises and comes to life – we can hear the daily sounds of bells ringing, priests chanting, the organ sounding, but it’s all in the distance. In the orchestral arrangement, we hear this as both lighter and more solemn, as the sounds carry us across the water.
- In the work, Rahbari is thinking back to his youth when as a child, he was fond of group morning prayers. The prayer would be read by one child and then repeated by the others. Through the work, Rahbari conveys the children’s feelings of being a bit naughty while at the same time keeping an eye on their teacher. It’s a solemn and evocative piece.
- In his 1985 work Remembering Gatsby, Harbison starts by placing us out on Gatsby’s dock, as he looks across the water to the green light on the end of the Buchanan dock. Next, the foxtrot starts, placing us in the middle of yet another wild party on Long Island. At the end come the sound of a telephone and a car horn – the two instruments of Gatsby’s ultimate fall.
- In Breugellan, Chief of the "Gepopo", the Secret Political Police, comes to inform Prince Gogo and the citizens that the planet is in danger of destruction. However, he’s so afraid and hysterical that his message cannot be understood. In this arrangement for trumpet by Elgar Howarth, who conducted the Swedish premiere, the unintelligible message is conveyed by ‘an absurd merry-go-round of shrieks, whistles, stamps, maraca shakes, and spoken gobbledygook.’ In the end, as the Chief get more alarmed and his psyche breaks down as the message isn’t getting across, ‘the music lurches inexorably towards the abyss.’
- The Trojan Women is said to be a work that cries out for an opera, yet the unrelentingly tragic story makes it almost monochromatic in its despair. In setting this critical scene that exemplifies the utter defeat of Troy, Barber has made his own miniature opera – you hear the triumphal march of the Greeks as she gives up the child at the end, her emotions at the downfall of all she had in Troy, and her powerlessness in the face of her fate.
- Louise Farrenc wrote two concert overtures, both in 1834, and they are very dramatic works. The narrative she was imagining is unknown, but it’s not difficult for the listener to create a dramatic storyline to fit the music – there’re mountains, and valleys, heroic gestures, and expansive landscapes. Farrenc creates a world through the contrast of different instrumental groups and playing with their textural contrasts.
- After WWII, the Lyceum Club commissioned composer Nikos Skalkottas (1904-1949) to arrange traditional music for the Club’s female chorus, to orchestrate Greek folk dances for their chamber orchestra, and to compose original music for their performances. One of these original works was the Ancient Greek March, to be played for a procession in 1947 of the Clubs’ costumes from three different ‘ancient eras.’