Lear – A Symphonic Study

for orchestra

Gordon Crosse

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for orchestra

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Composer Gordon Crosse
Year of Composition 2021
Duration ca.18'
Instrumentation Orchestra
Forces 2Fl, Fl/Picc, Ob, Ob/CA, Cl, Cl/BCl, 2Bsn, 2Hn, 2Tpt, 2Tbn, Tba, Timp, 2Perc, Hp, Pf, Strings (min.
Categories (all composers)
Catalogue ID ce-gc1lss1


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In 1983 I wrote a score for Granada TV’s production with Sir Laurence Olivier, directed by my friend Michael Elliot. Being for TV and not a movie, the score consists of a lot of rather short cues – a fact disliked by Olivier (who was nostalgic for the music of William Walton). In making this free-standing concert piece, I combined various short sections into four larger ones – ignoring the original running order and concentrating on the central character of Lear and his mental state. After a primitive sounding fanfare, the first movement presents Lear in his court with some pomp and ceremony. Then comes the storm – a storm both physical and mental for Lear and a rare opportunity for the composer to go ‘over the top’ without worrying about the audibility of the text. The third part – “crowned with flowers” – depicts Lear’s returned to sanity and calm. The final Epilogue attempts the impossible task of reconciling this ecstatic state with the bleak tragedy that lies behind it