The Second Symphony of American composer, Paul Creston (1906-1985), celebrates the fundamental musical building blocks of melody and rhythm. These elements are expressed in the Symphony’s two movements, “Introduction and Song,” and “Interlude and Dance.” Through a process of thematic transformation, the theme which opens the Symphony is developed adventurously throughout.
This theme first appears as a wandering shadowy single line in the low strings. The violas enter in fugal counterpoint, soon to be joined by the violins. Gradually, the music seems to emerge from dark depths to embrace the brightness of the flute and piano. The ominous Introduction is soon left behind, and the Song moves into the sunlight. Following a majestic climax, the final bars are serene and pastoral.
The second movement erupts with an infectious sense of dance. At times, we are swept along by the driving rhythms of Latin American folk music. Amid cross rhythms and an exhilarating crescendo , the final moments deliver the ultimate sense of groove.
Composed in 1944, Paul Creston’s Second Symphony was premiered the same year by Artur Rodzinski and the New York Philharmonic. Here is Neeme Jarvi’s 2007 recording with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra:
- Creston: Symphony No. 2, Op. 35, Neeme Jarvi, Detroit Symphony Orchestra Amazon