When I was kid, I always had a job. My family didn't have much money so there were plenty of chores
but no allowance. If I wanted something I had to make the money myself and buy it. I spent all my
money on music. Printed music, record albums, headphones and record player needles. I would turn out
the lights, put on headphones and listen to entire symphonies late into the night while laying on the
floor, eyes closed letting the music take me to wondrous places. Beethoven, Mozart, Mahler, Holst,
Mussorgsky, Sibelius, Saint-Saëns, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz and Rossini were my travel guides.
When I sat down to write Symphony No. 5, my goal was to take people to wondrous inner places.
Holst's “The Planets,” and Mussorgsky's “Pictures at an Exhibition” were 2 of my favorite works, like
painting pictures with music. I wanted to do the same thing with my 5th symphony. Those two works
were quite masculine with strong, hard musical edges. I wanted to do something more feminine. I think
we have the name Mother Nature and not Father Nature for that reason. Nature doesn't have hard,
masculine edges. Everything is fluid, parts of a greater force, like a natural, endless reincarnation which
is as feminine as birth.
Symphony No. 5 is my attempt at creating a work worthy of listening to in the dark, letting music take
you on a tour of the inner sanctums of Mother Nature. To describe with notes and phrases how the Sun
feels on your skin, the loneliness of a 10 billion year life and the power of sustaining life here on Earth.
To drench the listener with Rain. It's beauty, its destruction, its melancholy, wrapped up in everything
living on earth. An inner journey of the water inside everything. Finally, the Wind; It's power,
unpredictability, it's life taking forces or when it as soft as a sensual breeze, caressing a sweat covered
body. To whirl into a twister only to blow itself out and to weave it's essence musically with Sun and
Symphony No. V “Elements” is a journey within Mother Nature, a journey inside ourselves. When
you have a chance, I hope you will listen to this work, with headphones, in the dark, with Mother
Nature, and with the other natural, magical force; music.
SYMPHONY NO. V
In Three movements:
II. Rain in Dflat
Daniel J. Van Abs for The Eastern Wind Symphony,
Princeton New Jersey, Todd Nichols, Conductor In Memory of Patricia Page Van Abs
Premiers June 9, 2018 by the Eastern Wind Symphony,
Todd Nichols Conducting, Princeton University, New Jersey.
Premiers July, 2018, The Musashino Academia,
Ray E. Cramer Conducting, Tokyo, Japan.
Performance October 23, 2018 by the University of North Texas Symphonic Band,
Dennis Fisher Conducting, Denton, Texas.
SYMPHONY NO. V - ELEMENTS
Each Movement CAN stand alone, be performed seperately or performed in it's entirety.
You may purchase individual movements or the entire symphony by Fall, 2018.
II. RAIN in Dflat
The opening of the second movement is my attempt at rain. Literally. The orchestration has the woodwinds and sparse melodic percussion playing notes randomly, both in rhythm and pitch, representing individual rain drops. Solo instruments are added to the random rain and over the course of 37 measures the entire wind ensemble is added. In measure 38, the raindrops become no longer random, but musically part of each chord in passing. The whole opening section represents a light, random rain.
The middle section of “Rain” features 2 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon and piano. It is a representation of the melancholy that comes with rain. The music then builds into a huge downpour, represented by the movement’s main theme. It is big and full, but every once in a while, one measure drops down considerably in both volume and personnel which represents the contrast between looking out at a downpour or staring at individual rain drops on the ground or in your hand.
The middle main theme winds down, dropping down in orchestration to a “twinkling” magical piano and melodic percussion section. This represents the miracle of life water gives to all living things on Earth, without which, life would not survive. This section then grows into a recap of the main theme which gradually reduces to a light, slumber-inviting drizzle ending the movement.
*The “randomness” of raindrops is written out to insure eveb distribution of the “drops” without leaving that distribution to chance by simply providing the written instruction “play randomly.”*