Schwanter’s “Chasing Light…” a challenge for orchestras

Posted on: November 19, 2009

In Thursday’s (11/19) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker writes, “Small orchestras like the Plymouth Symphony don’t usually commission new music by a major American composer, but that’s what the Ford Made in American project is all about. Now in its second cycle, the project has gathered nearly 60 symphonies from all 50 states into a consortium to commission and perform the 17-minute’Chasing Light …’ by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner. At 66, Schwantner is best known for eclectic and colorful music that’s charged with drama.” On the difficulty and style of his work, Schwantner states, “It poses some technical challenges for orchestras that don’t have the kind of experience you’d find in working with, say, the Detroit Symphony. I think someone told me there are 431 meter changes. The rhythmic domain is the biggest challenge. It’s a four-movement piece that moves from one to the next without pause, so it’s like a miniature symphony. I wanted a wide range, from exuberant music that uses the full ensemble to meditative and soloistic music.” Michigan’s Plymouth Symphony Orchestra performs Chasing Light… on Saturday under the direction of Nan Washburn.

Posted November 19, 2009