RTC-65: 1986 Playhouse Music

Commission: City of Winnipeg Arts Advisory Council for SATORI. Manitoba Composers Association
Length: 9 min.
Completion: 1986-07-24, YWG
Premiere: 1986-11-01, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Alex Pauk (cond.) [program]
Other: 1991-01-18, WSO, Bramwell Tovey (cond.)
Publication: CMC

  1. Fanfare
  2. Marche Triste
  3. Elegy
  4. Perpetual Motion
  5. Ballad
  6. Dance scene
  7. Fun-fair

“Playhouse Music” is a sequence of seven brief scenes or vignettes that might accompany an imaginary theatrical presentation or a film. All are meant to be played continuously as one work. The Elegy and Ballad are in serious lyric vein, while the March triste, Perpetual motion and Dance scene are musical parodies, incorporating brief musical quotation – Sousa’s “El Capitan” March, “chopsticks” and “A Bicycle Built for Two” (with a hint of Sullivan – his father’s favourite composer) respectively. The framing Fanfare for brass is muted at the opening with minor 3rds and un-muted with major thirds at the end – re-titled “Fun-fair.” The sequences move from a rather dark melancholy first half to a brighter, more buoyant second half. This nine-minute work for orchestra was commissioned by the MCA and received its first performance at the SATORI Festival of Contemporary Canadian Composers in Winnipeg in 1986.

Playhouse Music, Performed 1 November 1986 by WSO, Alex Pauk (cond.)