A New Orleans Symphony, mvt. 2 - Storm
Grade level: 5
Commission info: Minnesota Symphonic Winds, Timothy Mahr, conductor
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On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast. This is my attempt to conjure up that storm. Blistering unison lines are passed back and forth between woodwinds and brass and then the low woodwinds play a foreboding melody that is the same as the blistering melody, but augmented into longer note values, as if the storm is approaching from a distance. Then the musical tension increases through heightened chromaticism, frequent key changes, and increasingly contrapuntal textures. Fragments of the hymn tune Nettleton, which we heard in the first movement, are heard multiple times, each time more desperate. Finally, the chaos and confusion in the music surges to a climactic and dramatic pause. Then the music bursts forth with destructive power, breaking through the levees and engulfing the city with water. The music dissipates, the storm is over, but the city is devastated.
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