Symphony No. 5 'Harmonia' (2020-2023)
Composed February 2020 - January 2023
Scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (tam-tam, triangle, suspended cymbal and bass drum), harp, strings
Harmonia Orchestra; William White conducting - March 11, 2023
Immediately after Quinn Mason conducted the world premiere of A Joyous Trilogy in February 2020, he began a conversation with Harmonia music director Will White about another work that he might compose for this group. “I expressed that I had a piece long inside of me that I needed to write,” he says. “That piece? My Symphony No. 5.”
As with many of Mason’s works, his fifth symphony “is the result of a long gestation period,” which in this instance “was spent devising the form for the composition. Set in three movements, it is a journey that takes us through contemplation, jubilation and remembrance.
“The first movement quietly wonders about the journey it is about to embark upon, from the depths of a tranquil mood. While the music wants to explode in lyrical emotion throughout, it is mostly subdued, never leaving the inward-looking feeling with which it began.
“While the second movement is mostly lively in nature, the introspective memories of the first movement never left it, as it is intercut with dynamic outbursts. Here, the influence of Jean Sibelius is apparent.
“The third movement is an elegy in memory of the events of the year 2020. This was the first music conceived for the work that same year. It serves as an ‘in memoriam’ to those we lost, and of lost time as well. Most unusually, it features a mournful duet between piccolo and tam-tam. Although tragic in nature, as we begin to trek toward more hopeful music, it is a reminder that we have moved past these devastating times — although they have not and will not have completely left us. They remain in memory, as they have in the previous two movements.”
-Program note by Jeff Eldridge