work details

HORIZON SYMPHONY

for mixed chorus and orchestra, with boy treble, tenor, and baritone soloists

  • Instrumentation: SATB, stb solos, 3 tpts, 3 tbns, timpani, 4 percussionists, harp, and strings
  • Completed: July 2014
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Texts: Stephen Crane (1871-1900); Walt Whitman (1819-1892); and the text of an anonymous chant melody from the 12th century
  • Video:
    • HORIZON SYMPHONY

      Cincinnati Boychoir & Orchestra
      Dominick DiOrio, guest conductor
      Dominic Martin, soprano; Trey Smagur, tenor; Steve Berlanga, bass

  • Press:
  • Commission:

    A Horizon Symphony was commissioned for the fiftieth anniversary of the Cincinnati Boychoir. The premiere took place on March 7, 2015, under the direction of Christopher Eanes and featuring the Cincinnati Boychoir with Collegium Cincinnati. Eric Riedel was the treble soloist, Andrew Jones was the tenor soloist, and Tyler Alessi was the baritone soloist.

    The composition & premiere of HORIZON SYMPHONY was made possible in part by a generous grant from the William O. Purdy, Jr. Foundation Fund and the Thomas J. Emery Memorial Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

  • Movements:

    PRELUDE: Magno gaudens gaudio

    1. Let us rejoice, boys!
    2. I saw a man pursuing the horizon
    3. Whoever you are!
    4. The livid lightnings flashed in the clouds
    5. On the horizon the peaks assembled
    6. Reprise: Let us rejoice, boys!
  • Program Note:

    My HORIZON SYMPHONY is a work of great joy. Using primarily poetry of Stephen Crane, the symphony explores the mighty struggles and hardships one endures in the pursuit of adventure and discovery. And it does this through the eyes of a boy coming of age.

    We hear sounds and texts of exploration: glimpses of great gatherings, strange men running after the sun, visions of God in lightning and thunder. A particular musical borrowing is found throughout, in tune and text: an anonymous chant from the 12th century celebrating the death of Herod, he who slaughtered many children in an attempt to protect his power. The chant is never sung, however, but instead is used as a melodic thread throughout the work in the orchestral parts.

    Designed as a companion piece for Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, the work uses similar instrumentation (minus one percussionist and one harpist). Where Bernstein’s work embodies seemingly contradictory affects of eccentricity and reflection, mine is also structured on contrast: at times both innocent and muscular, gentle and firm: the peculiar serendipity of young boys becoming men.

    This work was commissioned by the Cincinnati Boychoir and artistic director Christopher Eanes for their 50th anniversary, and its premiere performance was given on the date of the commemoration of their founding: March 6, 2015.

  • Performances:
    • 7 March 2015 (Premiere)
      50th Anniversary Concert
      Cincinnati Boychoir & Collegium Cincinnati
      Christopher Eanes, conductor
      Christ Church Catherdal - Cincinnati, OH
    • 8 March 2015 
      50th Anniversary Concert
      Cincinnati Boychoir & Collegium Cincinnati
      Christopher Eanes, conductor
      Christ Church Catherdal - Cincinnati, OH
    • 17 May 2015
      Special Run-out Concert 
      Cincinnati Boychoir & JSOM Instrumentalists
      Dominick DiOrio, conductor
      Indiana University Jacobs School of Music - Auer Concert Hall - Bloomington, IN
  • Texts:

    I.         Let us rejoice, boys! (Anonymous, 12th century & Walt Whitman)

    Rejoicing with great joy, let our company of boys
    Celebrate with song and dance this anniversary feast!
    Let songs and instruments bear witness to a happy mind.
    Let our family of boys be made up of games and gladness,
    Laughter, peace, and grace, to eternal glory.
    Let us rejoice, boys!

    The divine ship sails the divine sea.

     

    II.        I saw a man pursuing the horizon (Stephen Crane)

    I saw a man pursuing the horizon; 
    Round and round they sped. 
    I was disturbed at this; 
    I accosted the man. 
    "It is futile," I said, 
    "You can never -- " 

    "You lie," he cried, 
    And ran on. 
     

    Once a man clambering to the housetops 
    Appealed to the heavens. 
    With strong voice he called to the deaf spheres; 
    A warrior's shout he raised to the suns. 

     

    III.       Whoever you are! (Walt Whitman)

    Whoever you are! motion and reflection are especially for you;
    The divine ship sails the divine sea for you.

    Whoever you are! you are he for whom the earth is solid and liquid,
    You are he for whom the sun and moon hang in the sky,
    For none more than you are the present and the past,
    For none more than you is immortality.
     

    Once a man clambering to the housetops 
    Appealed to the heavens. 
    With strong voice he called to the deaf spheres; 
    A warrior's shout he raised to the suns. 
    Lo, at last, there was a dot on the clouds, 
    And -- at last and at last -- 
    -- God -- the sky was filled with armies.

     

    IV.       The livid lightnings flashed in the clouds (Stephen Crane)

    The livid lightnings flashed in the clouds; 
    The leaden thunders crashed. 
    A worshipper raised his arm. 
    "Hearken! Hearken! The voice of God!" 

    "Not so," said a man. 
    "The voice of God whispers in the heart 
    So softly 
    That the soul pauses, 
    Making no noise, 
    And strives for these melodies, 
    Distant, sighing, like faintest breath, 
    And all the being is still to hear." 
     

    There was set before me a mighty hill,
    And long days I climbed
    Through regions of snow.
    When I had before me the summit-view,
    It seemed my labor
    Had been to see gardens
    Lying at impossible distances.

     

    V.        On the horizon the peaks assembled (Stephen Crane)

    On the horizon the peaks assembled; 
    And as I looked, 
    The march of the mountains began. 
    As they marched, they sang, 
    "Aye! We come! We come!" 



    VI.       Reprise: Let us rejoice, boys! (Anonymous, 12th century & Walt Whitman)

    Rejoicing with great joy, let our company of boys
    Celebrate with song and dance this anniversary feast!
    Let songs and instruments bear witness to a happy mind.
    Let us rejoice, boys!

    The divine ship sails the divine sea.