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for orchestra

Full Orchestra
String Orchestra
Wind Ensemble
Solo Instrumental

Thaw was commissioned by Alexandra Dee and the South Loop Symphony in Chicago and premiered on March 18, 2017. I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in Florida, where there were basically two seasons: hot and not quite as hot. Since then, I have gradually moved farther and farther north, and I embraced experiencing the seasons. I can remember the first time I enjoyed the beauty of the leaves changing in the fall, and the first time I was in a blizzard. I find the length of winter can be trying, so the coming of spring is an incredible relief. This composition is inspired by the transition of winter to spring as warmth and life returns.

Thaw begins with an extended oboe solo accompanied by cold and aggressive pizzicatos. A solo clarinet joins briefly, and then the first signs of the end of winter arrive with a slightly warmer breathing figure played across the whole orchestra, a two-chord progression that hints at warmth but still contains a dissonant pinch of cold. Pizzicatos in the strings imitate water dripping off of melting icicles as the oboe hands its solo to the bassoon. Eventually, a horn solo is accompanied by much warmer harmonies in the strings, and a stunted acceleration transitions the piece into a fast and agitated section. The energy of spring builds, but is cut off by a brief return to the coldness of the piece's opening. Before long, fast music returns and leads the piece to a rousing close.

Thaw is currently published by Roger Zare Music. Please contact me for more information.

Duration: ca. 7'30"

  • 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in Bb, 2 Bassoons
  • 4 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in C or Bb, 2 Trombones, 1 Tuba
  • Timpani, 2 Percussion (Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Suspended Cymbal, Tam-tam, Bass Drum)
  • Strings

Watch a performance of Thaw by the Chicago Composers Orchestra, conducted by Allen Tinkham

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Copyright © by Roger Zare Music, ASCAP. All Rights Reserved.