Symphonic Overture from John Paul Jones
The Symphonic Overture has its roots in my stage musical John Paul Jones, which premiered in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2001. Essentially a tragedy of ambition, the musical tells the story of the son of a Scottish gardener who became a hero of the American Revolution as the “father of the American navy”.
The Symphonic Overture, however, is not strictly programmatic, rather it is symphonic. It takes a number of the key musical-thematic ideas from the score of the stage show and transforms them kaleidoscopically, fragmenting and re-compiling them in unexpected and unpredictable ways.
The work is in three clearly discernible sections. The first interlaces the Scots jig in 6/8 (which opens the musical) with the anthemic “Freedom Arise” theme in 4/4 (which closes it), by means of metric modulation. The second, slower section is essentially a canon and variation on the “Home Again” ballad from Act I of the show, while the third and final section is a radical development of the “Battle of Flamborough Head” sequence, again from Act I of the musical.
My intention in writing this piece was to explore how essentially quite simple base material, from a highly tonal, “popular” musical work, can be transformed into something both tonally more ambiguous and technically more intricate while retaining the spiritual essence of the original material.
Instrumentation Genre Ensemble (with conductor)
Duration 13 minutes
Instrumentation Piccolo [1 player]; Flute [2 players]; Oboe [2 players]; Clarinet [2 players]; Bassoon [2 players]; Contrabassoon [1 player]; Horn [4 players]; Trumpet [2 players]; Trombone [2 players]; Tuba [1 player]; Timpani [1 player]; Percussion [3 players] (Cymbals, Slapstick, Triangle, Tubular Bells, Woodblock, Xylophone); Harp [1 player]; Piano [1 player]; Violin 1 (section) [10 players]; Violin 2 (section) [10 players]; Viola (section) [8 players]; Cello (section) [6 players]; Doublebass (section) [4 players]
Performances of this work
|01/04/2006 (*premiére)||Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK||Link to online catalogue|
- the surface of the night, by Kevin Leomo
- near dark, by Kevin Leomo
- Close to the Bone, by Kevin Leomo
- Sound Festival Spotlight Gig: Stephanie Lamprea (Soprano) and James Banner (Double Bass)
- Red Note Sessions in Perth - Sub Mari
- sound festival | 19-24 October 2021
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- Gillian Walker Commissioned by Live Music Now
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- Classical Next 2022