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Bolt from the Blue

Full Orchestra
String Orchestra
Wind Ensemble
Solo Instrumental

   The title, Bolt from the Blue, is an expression that means something coming as a complete surprise, like a lightning bolt from clear skies. When I was asked to write this piece, I asked the Mason High School Symphony what their favorite pieces had been from the previous year. They almost unanimously told me Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony, to which I listened before starting to compose this work. A lot of the angst and drama from that great work by Shostakovich made its way into Bolt from the Blue, as well as its virtuosity and rhythmic vitality. I frequently use Bartok pizzicatos to represent flashes of lightning throughout the piece, and the relentless counterpoint creates tension that is released only at the very end. The slower middle section features the viola section with a mournful melody that is intermittently surrounded by a halo of warmth from the rest of the orchestra. However, any kind of comfort is fleeting as the dangerous music from the beginning returns, this time with a higher level of urgency.

   Bolt from the Blue was commissioned by William Mason High School and director Stephanie Jones in 2017 to celebrate the orchestra program's fifteenth anniversary.

   Bolt from the Blue is available for purchase from Murphy Music Press.

   Duration: ca. 7'

Watch the premiere by the William Mason High School Symphony Orchestra, Stephanie Jones conducting, May 11, 2017

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Scores and sets of parts for Bolt from the Blue are available for sale from Murphy Music Press.

Copyright © by Roger Zare Music, ASCAP. All Rights Reserved.