Solemn Overture was commissioned by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and its music director Peter Bay to commemorate the orchestra’s 30th anniversary. It was first performed on November 10, 1990, in Maryland Hall, Annapolis, with conductor Randall Craig Fleischer leading the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. The piece was well received at its premiere, described by critics as a “modern mosaic which set a tone of understated elegance,” and “a genuine beauty for all its deceptions of simplicity.”
Although the work is intended to be a “concert opener,” I decided on a quieter, more contemplative approach than is usually associated with such pieces. As with most of my work, Solemn Overture is a tonal piece; it uses repetition as a structural device (on many different levels); it features a constant rhythmic unit (in this case, the quarter-note beat, usually maintained by the strings); and finally, the entire piece is built from a small amount of material using various means of motivic development, including repetition, fragmentation, inversion, and chromatic alteration.
I revised Solemn Overture in 2012. This revision involved re-notating some passages, a fair amount of re-scoring, and a little “decomposition”!
This is the world premiere performance by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Randall Craig Fleischer.