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La Zebu Forte Overture

Full Orchestra
String Orchestra
Wind Ensemble
Solo Instrumental

   As composer in residence for SONAR during the 2008-2009 season, the director, Colin Sorgi, asked me to write a piece that fit the theme "Mozart Modern" for one of his upcoming programs. This work is based on the Magic Flute Overture, breaking down the themes and motives from that overture as well as the famous Queen of the Night aria, "Der Hölle Rache," and spinning them out of control. While the title seems to be nonsense, it is actually an anagram of "Zauberflöte." I'm sure that Mozart would have appreciated the humor in this work, even though the harmonic language is quite far removed from the Classical era.
   The piece opens with repeated E flats, the tonic of the Magic Flute Overture, and gradually expands outward chromatically, creating gritty dissonances. Other borrowed motives from Mozart creep their way in, as well as complex polyrhythms on the repeated notes. I imitate the structure of the overture by writing a fugue (subtitled "Overt Metrical Fugue," a serendipitous anagram of "Magic Flute Overture") using a subject that mashes up all of the disassembled Mozart motives. Gradually, I work in references to the excessively high coloratura part of Der Hölle Rache, treating it as a second subject. After the fugue runs its course, I quote small but recognizable parts of the overture almost verbatim, but only from the players farthest away from the conductor to create a disembodied sound.
   Duration: 9'

Watch the premiere:
March 10, 2009, SONAR New Music Ensemble, Tong Chen conducting.

Audio only:

La Zebu Forte Overture is published by the Theodore Presser Company. To purchase scores or rent parts, please head to their website.

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