Manhattan Matins

Symphonic Orchestration: 2.2.2.2/4.2.3(btbn).1/timp.1perc/str

Smaller Orchestration: 2.2.2.2/2.2.2(btbn).1/timp.1perc/str

Duration: c.6 mins 

Composer's Note

As the title suggests, Manhattan Matins is a musical postcard of New York, inspired by early morning walks around Central Park and the city’s Upper East Side. 

 

The piece begins with a series of short, ascending motifs for brass and strings which were suggested by the manner in which visitors to Manhattan are compelled to look up at the skyscrapers that tower above them. Beneath this, the rumble of the city’s subway is evoked by the lower instruments of the orchestra. 

 

Subsequently the music takes on a more lighthearted, jazzy character, and, in listening, we might imagine a person moving through the city on foot, surrounded by fragments of conversation and the noise of car horns, whilst, occasionally, feeling overwhelmed by the scale of their surroundings. In the work’s closing moments, the tempo increases and fragments of music are passed around the orchestra in an allusion to New York’s energetic bustle.

 

Throughout the piece, there are prominent roles for the trumpet and clarinet - instruments that we might already associate with Manhattan from their use by composers such as George Gerswhin and Leonard Bernstein.