• Arthur Bliss
  • Discourse for Orchestra (1957)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

First performance: Louisville Orchestra / Robert Whitney, conductor at the Columbia Auditorium, Louisville, Kentucky

  • 3(2pic)3(ca)23(cbn)4330timp.2perchpstr
  • 18 min

Programme Note

This Discourse for Orchestra was written for the Louisville Orchestra and first given in Louisville’s Columbia Auditorium by that orchestra under its conductor, Robert Whitney, on 23 October 1957. Later I had second thoughts about this work and kept it from performance during the intervening years. This year I devised an entirely new score for slightly larger orchestra and altered the proportions of the work, cutting out one section altogether.

The subject of this 20 minute dissertation is announced in the first few bars. The work can be divided into five clearly-defined sections:

1. Preliminary statement: (a) emphatic (allegro); (b) calm (larghetto)
2. A gayer and more impudent view (vivace)
3. A contemplative view (andante tranquillo)
4. A restatement of 1(a) with a brief return to 2, leading to
5. The peroration, and a quiet and enigmatic close.

As in all speeches, there are a few anecdotes and small digressions, but I hope the subject appears sufficiently throughout, in one form or another, to warrant the title I have given the work. It is dedicated to the Louisville Orchestra.

© 1965 Sir Arthur Bliss

Listen

Discourse (revised 1965 version): III. Andante tranquillo
Discourse (revised 1965 version): IV. Andante con brio (Recapitulation)
Discourse (revised 1965 version): VI. Tranquillo (Coda)
Discourse (revised 1965 version): I. Allegro (Tema)
Discourse (revised 1965 version): II. Allegro vivace (Gigue)
Discourse (revised 1965 version): V. Maestoso

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