THOMAS TRACHSEL (b.1972): Symphony No. 3 “Apocalyptic”.
Catalogue Number: 10S086
Description: When a composer writes a symphony that lasts over an hour and calls it 'The Apocalypitic' it naturally raises certain expectations, and Trachsel's 5-movement epic does not disappoint. A neo-romantic symphony in every sense - even the wind orchestra instrumentation is augmented with full cello and bass sections, so the timbres are closer to those of a full orchestra than is often the case, and there are several important cello solos - the work is based on the idea of 'apocalypse' not in the sense of the day of judgment, but of the dangers that beset the physical world due to humankind's unheeding demands, though this program still gives ample scope for 'apocalyptic' musical imagery. The piece is prefaced by a poem by Swiss author Arthur Honegger - no, not that one - in which the children of the future interrogate their forebears about the state of the world and of humanity itself bequeathed to them. The symphony is tonal, with echoes of Bruckner, Vaughan Williams, and Holst's 'Mars' in the warlike first movement. The scherzo is a cross between a barbaric version of Brucknerian rusticity and Prokofiev-like motoric momentum, with a melancholy slow waltz-like trio. A solemn slow movement follows, which transforms into a monumantal tragic march at its mid-point, while a choir intones Honegger's questioning text. The tragic, funereal drumbeat returns in a short, melancholy choral movement that prefaces the finale, which develops into enormous triple fugue, introducing the main themes of Trachsel's previous two symphonies combined with that of the 3rd; then as the movement's momentum fades, a radiant coda brings the work to an uplifting conclusion. Singers from ISU Belle Voix, Illinois State University Wind Symphony; Martin H. Seggelke.