Flourish with Fireworks


large orchestra
Full Orchestra
4(IV=picc).2.ca.4.2.cbsn – 4331 – timp – perc(4): 2 susp.cym/glsp/3 wdbl/tam-t/BD/tgl/TD/vib/spring coil/whip/SD – harp – cel(=keyboard glsp ad lib) – strings (min

Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra for the opening concertof Michael Tilson Thomas's first season as theirprincipal conductor

First Performance
15.9.88, Barbican Hall, London: London Symphony Orchestra/Tilson Thomas (revised) 25.8.93, Theatre Concert Hall, Tanglewood, USA: Tanglewood Music Center/Oliver Knussen

Score 0-571-51459-6 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

Flourish with Fireworks, written in August and September 1988, is neither more nor less than its title implies – a two-minute celebratory ‘opener’ for Michael Tilson Thomas’ first season as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. But it is, therefore, a triple homage: to Michael, who has been a close and supportive friend to me and my music for 18 years, since we met backstage at his British debut with the LSO and subsequently at Tanglewood in 1970; to the LSO itself – the orchestra which was ‘home’ to me as a child, when my father was principle double bass and Pierre Monteux the principal conductor, and was later the first major orchestra to play my music in public; and lastly to Stravinsky, a composer for whom Michael Tilson Thomas and I have shared a special affection. The ‘Fireworks’ of the title are Stravinsky’s earlier ones, and the music is built form the initials of the LSO (A, E-flat, G) and MTT (E, B, B) subjected to constant variation, sometimes of a kind now unknown to the later Stravinsky.

© Oliver Knussen

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