• Roy Harris
  • Elegy (1958)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • 3323/4331/timp.perc/hp/str
  • 6 min

Programme Note

Composer Note:

When I was invited to write a work especially for the Portland Junior Symphony I accepted the honor with great anticipation and some apprehension.

A satisfactory work would have to meet these standards of clear expression and yet belong to our time, our people, our youth.

With these thoughts guiding me I decided to remember the days of my late ‘teens. What was I like, what did I do, what were my expectations? To my great surprise and pleasure I found that I was quite similar to my own children (we have five). Forty years ago and today the youth live in a shining world of expectation: idealism is as high as the life which surrounds them will permit.

We did live then and do live now in two worlds, a dream world and an action world. So I decided to write “dream” music and “action” music: Reverie and Dance. (The Reverie has been retitled Elegy.) In both are folk-like songs, traditional and original, which my own family sing and love. Perhaps I should add that the harmony is consonant rather than dissonant; but it is a modern sense of consonance, seeking for bright, clear color.

—Roy Harris


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