2 Flutes, 2 Bb Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns, Percussion (2), Harp, Strings
Duration: ca. 4 minutes
Siena College Symphony (NY). Paul Konye. World premiere.
In Memoriam: Flight 800 was written during the summer of 1997 and completed almost a year to the day after the tragedy of TWA flight 800. I was deeply touched by this tragic loss of life, because it occurred over the skies of my youth, near Long Island, New York.
In this memoriam, I count each loss with the resonance of a singular pluck of a string. In all, 229 pizzicati occur -- and they occur randomly in acknowledgment of life's unpredictability and the unpredictability of life's conclusion. As for the teenagers from the Montoursville High School, they are represented in measure twenty-seven through a series of high-pitched pizzicati in the violins that ascend ever upward. There are other symbolic gestures in this work, such as the use of specific notes to represent the flight number (800 translated in musical terms is A flat-C-C), and an underlying chorale melody which continues to grow in strength. But I hope the true meaning of this work will be as a reminder of just how precious and fragile life is. --Bruce Craig Roter