Symphony No. 4 "Chiaroscuro" (1984/1989) by Gloria Coates is a 27-minute work for orchestra in three movements:
II. Mystical Plosives
III. Dream Sequence
Gloria Coates describes Symphony No. 4 as the translation of a metaphysical experience into musical forms and content where conscious and subconscious elements become the music itself.
The first movement Illumination expresses the intuitive feeling that something deeply profound is happening. On hearing a radio broadcast of Purcell’s aria When I Am Laid in Earth the composer felt a deep sadness and later hears of the death of her father 7,000 kilometers away. The second movement Mystical Plosives is a struggle of musical elements in conflict. In the third movement Dream Sequence, a mirror canon drives the musical elements forward, eventually leading to its climax.
Symphony No. 4 was commissioned for Art Meets Music: Thiele-Zoll with Gloria Coates, and premiered on June 22, 1990, at Theaterhaus Stuttgart-Wangen by the Stuttgart Philharmonic, conducted by Wolf-Dieter Hauschild.
The full score (EP 14590) is available for sale as part of the Peters Contemporary Library. The performance material can be hired.