Jonathan Girard led the UBC Symphony Orchestra and Choirs in a performance of Stephen Chatman’s newly released major work for SATB Chorus divisi, timpani and percussion soli, and orchestra, A Song of Joys. The performance was presented as part of the 20th Anniversary of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on April 8, 2017. Galaxy Music is pleased to offer this work on our website and through music retailers worldwide.
Program notes by Tara Wohlberg:
A Song of Joys was commissioned by the Calgary Philharmonic Society with assistance from the Canada Council. The 21-minute work in seven movements, premiered in Calgary on May 2, 2014, was originally conceived as a companion work to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Based on fragments of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” this piece shares several characteristics with the Beethoven masterpiece, including identical orchestral instrumentation and a critical role of the chorus. More importantly, both works celebrate humanity and the spirit of love: the universal brotherhood of man through joy and the love of the heavenly father. From Whitman’s opening line, “O to make the most jubilant song!” to his concluding lines, ‘With the love of comrades, With the life-long love of comrades,’ the spirit of love, universal brotherhood, transcendentalism, and joy pervades the work.
A Song of Joys features two instrumental soloists—the timpanist and percussionist playing a vast array of percussion instruments. The work is unique in that it balances two distinct entities: a frequently virtuosic, multi-timbral, poly-stylistic ‘double concerto’ versus large chorus with soli and orchestra. These two elements are either separated or combined throughout the contrasting movements. Two movements (“One Hour to Madness and Joy!” and “I dance with the dancers”) feature timpani and percussion soli with orchestra only. The final movement, “With the love of comrades,” builds to the resounding climax of the work.
Work details at a glance:
Instrumentation: 3[1.2.pic] 2 2 3[1.2.cbn] – 4 2 3 0 – timp+1 – str