RTC-29: 1963 Three Episodes for orchestra ♫

Commission: [TSO?]
Length: 16 min.
Completion: 24 August 1963, YVR
Premiere: 1966-02-27, Toronto Symphony Orch., Jean Deslauriers (cond.)

  • 1970-07-04, TSO, Victor Feldbrill (cond.)
  • TSO, Karel Ancerl (cond.)

Publication: CMC
Recordings: TSO, Jean Deslauriers (cond.), RCI Anthology of Music, ACM 15, 1983

Audio Samples

Three Episodes: 1. Prelude

Three Episodes: 2. Interlude

Three Episodes: 3. Finale

Robert Turner writes:

“Three Episodes is a kind of concise drama for orchestra in which each of the three episodes can be said to represent the exposition, crisis and denouement, respectively [of the drama]. The first (Prelude – Allegro fantastico) consists of several kaleidoscopic ideas stated in a free, recitative-like manner. The second (Interlude – Lento inquieto) begins softly with three-note fragments on harp, vibraphone, celesta and glockenspiel, heard again a sustained chord for strings. This material builds in intensity (mainly through rhythmic diminution) to a shattering climax for full orchestra. Following a grand [General] pause, the movement ends with a brief reminiscence of the opening bars. The last (Finale – Allegro precipitando) is based on a precipitous, rushing theme from which rise occasionally lighter, more lyrical ideas (somewhat analogous to sunlight glinting on a running stream). The coda, which abruptly interrupts a passage for piano and harp, combines the opening motifs of the first episode with the main theme of the Finale. The mood of the ending is defiant but also optimistic. While the work employs the 12-tone technique, I have attempted to based each episode on a single tonal centre, those being E, B-flat and E. The scoring is for full symphony orchestra, including a large percussion section, piano, harp and celesta.”