O f V i g i l s a n d S t o r m s
Orchestra (188.8.131.52. 184.108.40.206 timp+2. hp. strings)
"As the darkness faded into grey of a winter morning,
he listened for the church bells,
—and for another sound, that always amused him here;
the whistle of a locomotive."
– Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop
I grew up in Dubuque, Iowa. It is a small city nestled into the bluffs on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Two things are always certain about Dubuque: its religious foundation and thunderstorms.
Throughout my childhood, I have many memories of late night tornado warnings and the insecurity that accompanied them. Hunkered down in our basement, I did not quite comprehend the situation that I was in, and I found myself falling back on faith. A small boy’s prayer to spare his family, friends, and everything he holds dear. Now, looking back on those times and seeing the devastation wrought by tornados across the country, I like to believe that those tiny prayers were heard.
Of Vigils and Storms is a fanciful take on these snapshot memories. In my reimagining of it, I see myself as a young child shouting simple, little prayers at a raging thunderstorm. Thunder bellows, rain pours, lightening illuminates the darken heavens, and this little boy, filled with intense passion for his home and loved ones, quells the storm.
This work was commissioned by and written for William Intriligator and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. It was initially titled Mathias and the Storm, but due to certain elements concerning the original character, the title has been changed.
Dubuque Symphony Orchestra (William Intriligator, conductor) - 30 April 2017; Dubuque, IA*
Dubuque Symphony Orchestra (William Intriligator, conductor) - 29 April 2017; Dubuque, IA*
* - Performed under original title
Orchestral Masters Volume 7, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra (Mikel Toms, conductor), Ablaze Records, 2020. CD. [forthcoming]