• 3333/4431/timp.perc
  • 6 min

Programme Note

Composer Note:

Fanfare for St. Louis was commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony for the opening of Powell Symphony Hall. It is dedicated to the St. Louis Symphony and its Musical Director, Eleazar de Carvalho. It was finished on New Year’s Day, 1968.

The brief composition is not an actual fanfare, in the most commonly used sense of the term, but rather a work using fanfare-type material, developed and manipulated in a contemporary fashion. The work is cast in a simple ABA form: stately brass-dominated figures in the A sections and the B section a very lively, skitterish polyphonic one featuring the woodwinds.

The instrumentation comprises the full woodwind and brass sections of the orchestra, plus four percussionists. The instruments are divided into three sonoric groups deployed with considerable spatial separation at three corners of the stage. Antiphonal or “stereophonic” relationships between the groups are thereby made possible and built into the very structure of the work. Thus, the bright brass sound of the trumpets and trombones may be answered—on the other side of the stage—by the darker, richer color of four French horns and tuba (a bassoon and bass clarinet complete the latter group). An ensemble of ten woodwinds provides still another color group. Each group has its percussionist, while the timpani presides in the center of the stage.

—Gunther Schuller