For symphony orchestra ; 1997 ; Duration ca. 8:35
  • 2 Flutes (2nd doubling Alto Flute), 2 Oboes (2nd dobling English Horn), 2 B-flat Clarinets, 2 Bassoons
  • 4 F Horns, 2 C Trumpets, 2 Tenor Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba
  • 2 Percussionists, Harp
  • Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Violoncello, Contrabass

Breakaway! is a scherzo/overture intended to highlight symphonic brilliance and color, ensemble fluidity and precision. Thematic and textural ideas at time reminiscent of nineteenth and early twentieth century symphonic traditions are interwoven with more contemporary and unique types of musical textures, such as circular passages in which several solo parts, each in an individual tempo determined by the player, spiral out of a harmony or melodic fragment in mirror-like ripples. The musical qualities within certain other passages might be suggestive of pattering rain, or perhaps likened to a kind of ecstatic "stuttering" or rhythmic hammering.

Initially, the musical thread caroms between rocket-like bursts and moments of "quiet anticipation," and later between surging, wave-like swells and passages that suddenly freeze on a harmony, a color, or a pulsating rhythm. Despite these juxtapositions and rising and falling arcs, however, I also have tried to interconnect and integrate these contrasts into a musical journey of unbroken continuity.

PDF score excerpt
This is the first page of the orchestral score, also presented at the opening on the mp3 excerpt from the work.

MP3 audio excerpt
This excerpt is from the beginning of the work.
Duration : 34 seconds; size 1.1 MB ; encoding 256 kBit true stereo

Breakaway! was commissioned by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in commemoration of its seventy-fifth anniversary season, and was premiered by the RPO, conducted by Robert Bernhardt, on November 6 and 8, 1997.

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