Jay Schwartz: Music for Orchestra II

Jay Schwartz Music for Orchestra II
Music for Orchestra II

Jay Schwartz: Music for Orchestra II

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for orchestra
Jay Schwartz
4 4 4 4 - 4 4 4 1 - perc(4), vln.I(12), vln.II(12), vla(8), vc(8), cb(6)
Instrumentation details:
1st flute (+picc)
2nd flute (+picc)
3rd flute
4th flute
1st oboe
2nd oboe
3rd oboe
4th oboe
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb
3rd clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
4th clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
1st contrabassoon
2nd contrabassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in Bb
2nd trumpet in Bb
3rd trumpet in Bb
4th trumpet in Bb
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
4th trombone
contrabass tuba
1st percussion (piano, crotales, musical glasses, thunder sheet, plate bell, tam-tam, bass drum, lions roar)
2nd percussion (bass drum)
3rd percussion (timpani, plate bells, crotales, musical glasses, tam-tam, suspended cymbal)
4th percussion (timpani, crotales, thunder sheet, bass drum)
violin I (6 desks)
violin II (6 desks)
viola (4 desks)
violoncello (4 desks)
contrabass (3 desks)
Auftragswerk des Salzburger Landestheaters
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Music for Orchestra II

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Music for Orchestra II is a sonic realisation of the shape of a cross – a dramaturgy of crossing lines. Formally, its musical structure is analogous to that of the poem Elegy Howlers by the contemporary English poet Ruskin Watts, in which phonetic and semantic characteristics of German and Hebrew interact. The languages engulf each other and crisscross, evoking an endless chain of historical and philosophical associations, thus forming a geographical crossing of paths at a junction between the Occident and the Orient.

The entire composition is based on that junction; the music is more architectonic than anecdotic, more an objective construction than a description of a text. Two diametrically opposed lines approach each other slowly, meeting on a central unisono with all the instruments resonating on the 8-foot D in a forceful tutti – focused on the single common point of the orchestra’s entire gamut in a catharsis which releases a chain of eerie harmonies. Then the harmonically entwined lines begin to separate, gradually disappearing in diametrically opposed directions in a mirror-image of the first half of the work.

The solid framework of the piece supports a clear, extended arch, likewise allowing complex polyphony. The extremities of the orchestral ranges – from shrill and piercingly high to the depths of the sub-contrabass registers – stretching like the wide reach of a crossbar – along with the taut shifting of microtonal intervals, combine to form both an expression of music’s excessiveness and its primal scream.

Special prints

Music for Orchestra II

Jay Schwartz: Music for Orchestra II

study score
for orchestra , 25’
Instr.: 4 4 4 4 - 4 4 4 1 - perc(4), vln.I(12), vln.II(12), vla(8), vc(8), cb(6)

World première

Kollegienkirche, Salzburg (AT)
Mozarteumorchester Salzburg
Leo Hussain


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