Opus 484

Symphony of Light (2003)

for String Orchestra

  • Winter Brightnesses (for Mary Louise Bringle)
  • Eternity Canticle: First Light (for Kirk Trevor)
  • Dawning (for Marisa Green)

Duration: 13.25 min.

Commission: Commissioned by the Broeker Fund for New Music Music and Richard Mason

Publisher: Lauren Keiser Music Publishing

Performance materials available from the publisher.

Symphony of Light (2003) is cast in three movements, each inspired by different images and visions connected to light. The first movement, Winter Brightnesses, is dedicated to Mary Louise Bringle. The inspiration for this movement is from the coming dawn on a calm winter day, where the gathering light glistens off fallen snow as the sun slowly rises. An opening section of melodic unfolding leads to a middle section with climaxes. The opening material returns, leading to a warm and pure conclusion—as the dawn flows into the coming day.

The second movement, Eternity Canticle: First Light, is dedicated to Kirk Trevor. The movement was inspired by a passage from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:11:

“He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their hearts, yet so that humankind cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.” — Ecclesiastes 3:11

A free-flowing melody with a wide compass opens the movement and serves as the principal material. After the initial presentation, lyric development of the material proceeds. A chorale-like treatment of the opening melody builds to a climax. Wisps of the earlier music are then recalled as the movement settles to a reposed conclusion.

The third movement, Dawning, is dedicated to Marisa Green. In contrast to the first movement (inspired by a quiet winter dawn), this movement is inspired by a vibrant summer morning. It is an exuberant and joyous celebration of light and energy. A spirited opening section leads to a lush and more contemplative middle section. The spirited opening music returns before a driving coda ends the movement.