Joy and Euphoria

Composed 2018

Instrumentation

    flute | 2 oboes | english horn

    2 clarinets | bass clarinet | bassoon

Duration 7'

Commissioned by

    The Franklin & Marshall College Philharmonia

    Brian Norcross, director

Performed by

    Jenny Lehtonen, flute | Yo Shionoya and Patrick              Grimone, oboes | Daniel Outlaw, english horn |                Andrew Compton and Rachael Hendricks, clarinets        | Alexandra Doyle, bass clarinet | Andi Bragiel,                bassoon | Rob Stull, conductor

    

Program Notes

(part II of the four-part Axis Mundi)

            “Every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a Centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all.” (Mircea Eliade) The Axis Mundi is a symbol of this Centre, a place where information, ideas, even people can cross between dimensions for growth and knowledge. As humans, we too have a Centre, commonly referred to as a grounding “morality” or “soul” that may or may not be influenced and supported by religion. This sense of the moral self adjusts and moves over time, adapting to our experiences, actions, and thoughts, and I have been contemplating this motion, this ever-changing identity and sense of self whilst completing this 3-year long project.

            Axis Mundi, music for three octets is in four parts, with the first three parts each highlighting an instrumental family before combining all the elements in the final part. Passion and Remembrance introduces us to the powerful, colorful, and flexible brass with a spotlight on the tenor trombone. Joy and Euphoria features the woodwinds in their element through a provocative narrative structure. Thought and Introspection is a somber, supple hymn for the strings with a central melody in the viola. The whole work concludes with a dramatic, powerful epilogue The Three in One, scored for all three octets that combines elements from the previous pieces. The four parts span three years of compositional development and various stages of personal development, and offer a glimpse into what a changing identity can look and sound like.

-  August 14 2019

Joseph Foster Harkins

composer