Tone Poem Tuesday

 Here’s an interesting piece! I didn’t realize this was even available online until a few weeks ago when I looked up the composer by name. Linda Robbins Coleman is a composer, conductor, and teacher from Iowa whose symphonic poem Journeys was commissioned by the Wartburg Community Symphony Orchestra while I was there. Yes, I was privileged to take part in a world premiere, under the baton of Dr. Janice Wade

Coleman’s website describes Journeys thusly:

Journeys, A Symphonic Poem, marked a turning point for composer Linda Robbins Coleman in that it was her first large-scale work conceived and produced without utilizing another medium for inspiration. As the composer says, “I chose the title in part because the years leading up to its composition were quite a personal and professional journey for me. When I began to write I discovered that Journeys would not be a programmatic description of a picturesque country or great work of literature, but that it would tend more towards a reflection of where I have been within myself, and where I am struggling to go.

Prior to Journeys, most of my larger works had been for theatre, writing incidental music, scores, or songs for plays ranging from Euripides and Shakespeare to modern and avant-garde productions. All were highly descriptive both in mood and language. This experience enabled me to learn how to experiment with various tone colors to convey the different feelings expressed in plays. But with Journeys I was on my own. Even though my music is very tonal and accessible to all audiences, I still found that expressing personal feelings and moods–from my own script this time–to be a most stimulating challenge.

I hadn’t heard Journeys since I played it back in February of 1992, so revisiting it is a surprising exercise in…well, not nostalgia, but an exploration of things not quite remembered. There is a passage in here that I remember quite clearly, as the piece’s middle section reaches it climax; there is some daunting trumpet writing in there, in which I was required to hit notes loudly that I wasn’t terribly confident of hitting much at all. I did manage to nail them, though.

I’m glad to read that Journeys didn’t disappear down a musical memory hole. It has apparently been performed a bunch of times since, as this recording proves (that is not my orchestra). Journeys is bold and dramatic, and quite modern in its conception. I hope you enjoy it.

Here is Journeys by Linda Robbins Coleman.

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1 Response to Tone Poem Tuesday

  1. Roger Owen Green says:

    I like, even the coughing, which let me know it was recorded live!

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