ensemble orchestra (2.2.2.bcl.sax.2.cbn.-18.104.22.168-hp.kbd-strings)
duration 8 minutes
written winter 2009
written for Yale Symphony Orchestra
premièred April 19, 2009, New Haven, CT
published by Andres & Sons Bakery
Yale’s Woolsey Hall is a peculiar acoustic environment; its high ceiling, shallow stage, and hard, non-porous surfaces create a staggering 13-second reverberation, flattering some sounds and completely overwhelming others (the mighty Newberry organ sounds fantastic; anything fast or staccato, not so much). The effect is that of a giant bathroom.
When the YSO asked me to write a piece in memory of one of their past conductors, I knew I wanted to write for the hall that the orchestra has struggled with and triumphed in for some 40 years. I didn’t know William Harwood (he died the year I was born), but I was the keyboardist in the YSO for several years, experiencing first-hand the camaraderie and fierce playing that the group inspires.
That said, Bathtub Shrine is an elegy, based on a chaccone in parallel fifths. Rising fifths also act as a melodic impetus, on which first the saxophone and then other wind instruments ponder, debate, and elaborate (in that order).
recorded live at Royce Hall, Los Angeles, CA, Oct. 2013
performers Alex Treger, conductor; American Youth Symphony