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Julius Eastman

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Symphony No. II - The Faithful Friend: The Lover Friend's Love for the Beloved (1983)
Work Notes
Available for performances after December 2019
Music Sales Corporation
Year Composed
ed. Luciano Chessa
22 Minutes
Unavailable Explain this...
Programme Note
Julius Eastman Symphony No. II - The Faithful Friend: The Lover Friend's Love for the Beloved (1983)

Yes, the work ends abruptly, on a handful of exhausted staccato notes. And embedded in a texture of spendthrift immensity — stacked with extra tubas, contrabassoons, bass clarinets and 24 timpani — individual voices sound frightfully naked. But what’s most striking is the composer’s command of these monstrous forces. The work opens with unison strings tracing a meandering line at a ritualistic pace. A dull, dissonant chord releases a dark haze, and from there on the music proceeds in an opposition between human gait and atmospheric forces. For much of the work’s duration, the timpani keep up a low, ominous rumble. When they ratchet up the volume, the sound rises like a tsunami that temporarily submerges everything else in darkness. The end is carried by low wind instruments playing at the upper edge of their comfort zone, where the sound grows reedy and tense. The feeling that lingered for me as the audience erupted in applause was one of sacrifice, or at least surrender.
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times,21/11/2018
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