Metaphorical Views on Planet Earth

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2020 (rév. 2022) • Harmonie • Grade 4-5 • 13:30 • FC Music Publishing

Instrumentation Picc, 2Fl, Ob, Bsn, 3Cl, BCl, 2ASax, TSax, BSax, 3Tpt, 3Hn, 3Tbn, Euph, Tba, DBs(opt), Synth(opt), Harp(opt) // 5-7Perc (4Timp, 2WB, SD, 2 SusCymb, Tri, H-H, 4RotoT, BChimes, BD, Cbsa, Tamb, CrashC, T-T, SleighB, WindG, Glock, Xylo, Vibra, 2Bon, 2Con, TubB, Mar, FloorT)

Stratoscape is a colorful and contrasting work for intermediate wind band, depicting the view of our earth as seen from the stratosphere. This voyage into the sky is pictural, but also metaphoric, as it is also a distancing from our world.

The work is divided in 5 sections and has a general 3-part "fast - slow - fast" structure : sect. I - II / III / IV - V. I tried to variate the language to create contrasting sections, and thus, the work is unified with its musical material, which is fast entirely derived from the main theme exposed in the first measures of the piece, whether it be in a rhythmic or melodic way.

I. Ignition ! (Allumage des moteurs !)

In this section, I tried to set in music the majesty of our planet and the excitement to see it from the stratosphere. Let's start our journey to the skies! The work begins with energetic fanfare-like introduction, preceding the exposition of a main motif (m. 13) and to a secondary theme (m. 25), which will serve as main melodical material in other sections. A march-like development of theme occurs at m. 34, before the return of the introduction at m. 75.

II. Broadness & The Big Blue (Vasteté & Le Grand Bleu)

The secondary musical material of section I is now treated in a minimalistic and atmospheric way (m. 90), depicting the broadness of the landscapes of our planet as well as the wideness of the seas. The music dislocates from m. 145, exposing a crucial low-brass motif, derived from the leitmotivic third-relation present in the whole piece.

III. Stars Shining from Down and Above (Des étoiles scintillant d’en bas et d’en haut)

The middle part sets in music the fragile beauty of our earth at night. There is also a duality in the elements depicted here: the stars shining from down (the lights/the humans on the earth) and above (the stars in the sky/the people who left).

After some atmospheric variations of the musical leitmotiv from m. 13, the oboe exposes a lyrical motif, rhythmically and directionally derived from the main theme, leading to a quiet section, with various solos in the ensemble.

IV. Destructive Forces (Forces destructrices)

This section intends to describe the majesty and the raw power of nature, but also the destruction caused by humans (fanfare writing at m. 260 and 369). The rytmic motif derived from the low brass at letter I is developed here in a very raw, sweating, and aggressive manner, giving the lead to the massive percussion section (m. 267) and developing the material of previous sections in a sarcastic and mad way. The music collapses at m. 308, leading to a haunting quasi senza misura section, then returning to the rhythmic pulsations of the beginning of the section.

V. One and Only Home (Notre seule et unique demeure)

This little section, concieved as a finale, returns shortly to a minimalist writing (mark X), giving us a little break after the sonorous end of section IV, and summarizing the material of the previous section. The final section beginning at mark Y ends the piece in an enthusiastic way.

This piece was composed in november 2020 and profoundly revised in early 2022. It was premiered on December 8th, 2022, by the Civica Filarmonica of Lugano, conducted by Franco Cesarini. The composer was invited to assist the premiere.