Mirabilia for symphonic wind ensemble
Mirabilia for Symphonic Wind Ensemble Instrumentation 1 Piccolo 3 Flutes 1 Oboe 1 English Horn 6 Clarinets in Bb 1 Bass Clarinet 3 Bassoons 1 Soprano Saxophone 1 Alto Saxophone 1 Tenor Saxophone 1 Baritone Saxophone 3 Trumpets 2 Horns 2 Trombones 1 bass Trombone 1 Euphonium 1 Tuba
Program Note Mirabilia (1993) ….and music shall untune the sky. (St. Cecelia’s Day Ode (1687), John Dryden) In the Middle Ages it was believed that each of the heavenly spheres produced its own single tone. Together all the spheres formed one celestial harmony that has been handed down to us as the music of the spheres. In the most common version of the myth, the rubbing together of the supposedly hard glassy spheres of the planets formed the so-called “music of the spheres”. It was thought, that because it was constant, this droning deadened the ears and was therefore inaudible. However, the individual carried with it this music that was known in the sky. Often the marvelous was closely allied with the complex of ideas, images and metaphors (both visual and aural) associated with the mirror. Thus, Mirabilia was associated with the whole world of the imagination. The music of the spheres was thought to be mirrored in the music of the soul; thus, the connection of these images in my work. The work is built up from the overlaying of a number of different types of circle canons (by inversion, retrograde, augmentation) that overlap and turn in on each other. Webern's Symphony, Op. 21 (in its canonic technique) and Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments (in its orchestration) helped to serve as models for my composition. My music is contemplative in nature. My compositional means is one of distillation and intensification. In Mirabilia individual moments become absorbed into the overall effect. Layers of music act as veils that blend into each other, creating illusions of planes of sound that advance and recede to and from the music’s surface. Score published by Frog Peak Music, Box 1052, Lebanon, New Hampshire 03766; www.frogpeak.org Cover image: Robert Fludd
Symphonic Wind Ensemble. By Paul Paccione (1993). Instrumentation and Program Note.