Why I wrote this symphony,

and why it is written in the classical style


Classical music is played by string instruments (violins, violas, cellos and basses), wind instruments (flues, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, and trumpets) and pitched drums (timpani). It has a long, venerable history that goes back five hundred years or more.


My Symphony No. 3 is part of a tradition of symphony writing that began in the decades preceding the American Revolution.  The early symphony writers set a pattern that composers of the genre have since followed.  Although symphonies vary widely in length and complexity, most have four parts or movements.  The first is usually fast, the second slow, the third is often in three quarter time, and the fourth or finale is usually quick, upbeat and conclusive.


To write a symphony is not to merely imitate the old masters.  The symphony tradition is instead a starting place or point of divergence.  With it come rules and guidelines that serve as a standard, which is meant to be both maintained and broken.  Writing a symphony is an exercise in how to be both conventional and unconventional in unexpected ways.  I took up this challenge because I wanted to say something new in the context of a lasting and highly revered historical musical form.  Music is expression, and as a new kid on the block I wanted to express myself in a style that was traditional but at the same time challenging of tradition. 




The subtitle of my symphony, Summer in Star Valley Wyoming, ties it to a definite place—the place where I was born and raised.  The music looks back to the 1950s when I was a pea-green freshman entering Star Valley High.  My ears were filled with hymns I had heard at church and popular songs and dance music featured at community socials.  Could I work religious, folk, and popular tunes into a symphony? That’s what I set out to do. I wanted to bring the past into the present, not by repeating the music of my youth verbatim but instead by capturing the spirit of it—what it meant to me as I was growing up. It was a way of reliving the past but more as an idealization than as a history. As I wrote, my memories were selective. Life in early Star Valley was, as I depicted it, more a product of my imagination than of a photographic retelling of what actually occurred.


In its adolescent years Star Valley, as I viewed it, was exuberant and rambunctious—too young to be self-conscious and too naive to be defensive. The people were builders of new homes, businesses, schools, churches, and even factories. The dairy industry was the economic mainstay with schools, professional services, and airplane manufacture as important additions. The people were a tight-knit group, dependent on each other for their livelihood, security, and entertainment.


Community socials were attended by everyone, young and old alike. The generation gap, if there was one, was invisible. In those early decades few would have thought of such a thing. The music of the old was the music of the young. The songs the old folks sang were young people’s dance music. The popular music of the day, like my symphony, had its roots in music that preceded it. The harmonies, rhythms, and melodies that brought young and old together looked back to the classical music of former times.


There is in all of this a sense of tying the generations together—something that endures through the ages in spite of the novelty that characterizes each new era. As the young come of age, they step up and take command of the future. They do not do so without looking back. As they take a step forward one foot remains securely planted in what preceded it.


                                     William Call

 

Symphony No. 3

Track 1, Morning 7:14

Track 2, Evening 7:59

Track 3, Afternoon 5:21

Track 4, Finale 9:20


A Note from

the Producer

Orchestral music has traditionally been recorded by assembling all the musicians into a large hall or recording studio. Microphones to capture the entire ensemble are appropriately placed. The conductor raises the baton, the recording engineer presses the “record button” and the music begins. This process, though used for decades, is often times inefficient, costly and cumbersome.


For this recording and many found on this website, the old way has been replaced by a one-at-a-time method. In a recording studio no larger than an average sized bedroom, each individual player is recorded two at a time or separately while listening with headphones to computer generated sounds provided by the composer. Then each instrument is combined or “mixed” together to form the music you hear. The benefits of this method include more control over each individual player’s sound, more time for each player to “get it right,” the instruments more carefully mixed together, and considerably reduced costs. The end result is classical music that is much closer to what the composer intended, and that would be too expensive to produce otherwise.


                                                                                                                                            Thor Call - Producer

 

Symphony No. 3 is included in the 4-disc set, “Three Symphonies and a Concerto,” which also includes the 1st and 5th Symphonies and the Hometown Concerto.  Ordering information is below:

Or download from iTunes or Amazon.com


Three Symphonies and a Concerto is also available wherever digital downloads are sold.

Three Symphonies and a Concerto, Physical CD (4 CD Set).  Includes Symphonies No. 1, 3 and 5, and the Hometown Concerto.

Buy the physical CDs at CDBaby.comhttp://www.cdbaby.com/cd/williamcall3

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Instrumentation: 2222, 22, timpani, strings.  Study and conductor scores and parts are available upon request.  Contact me.