Lyric Harmony was commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation for the American Composers Orchestra and received its first performance on April 30th, 1995, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. The composition has since then been extensively revised and the present performance in Boston constitutes a world premiere of the new version. The title Lyric Harmony suggests the inner process of the composition - the essence of its lyric impulse - which is more a kind of singing harmony than melody per se. The melodies arise from the chords; the progression of chords is heard as song. This is not to imply that Lyric Harmony is a smooth extended "aria" for orchestra. Rather it is a symphonic composition of dramatic oppositions and developments. While Lyric Harmony is in one continuous movement of roughly 20 minutes duration, it is given shape by clearly articulated sections. The succession of events can be described as follows:
Headlong and driven
Headlong (a return)
Transition and Chorale Prelude (Elegy)
Liquid dissolution of the harmonies
Extended development of dramatic and expressive contrasts
Ceremonial apotheosis resolving to the chord which begins Lyric Harmony
Between Lyric Harmony and Epilogue there exists a close connection. Some of the music of Lyric Harmony finds its way into Epilogue. Conversely, some of the music for Epilogue was originally conceived as part of Lyric Harmony. The two compositions, therefore, emerge from the same source.