Paul Creston’s Second Symphony: A Celebration of Song and Dance

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

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

3 thoughts on “Paul Creston’s Second Symphony: A Celebration of Song and Dance”

  1. Deserves to be played and heard more than this symphony is. Don’t recall ever playing this in many years of playing in orchestras.

  2. It’s a truly great symphony regardless of national origin. I consider it to be arguably the greatest American symphony. It has everything.

  3. Hello. I am a great fan of all the music of him. I have just listened to the final second mouvement from his second symphony, i must say that for me it is very “apoteosic”, his third symphony is more calm than this second,at any case good to hear.


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