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Program Note

Fred Lerdahl

Waves

for chamber orchestra (1988)
Duration15'
CommissionOrpheus, St. Paul, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras with the support of a National Endowment for the Arts consortium grant
Premiere1989; Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; John Adams, conductor
PublisherSchott Music
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Program Note

Waves (1988) was commissioned by the Orpheus, St. Paul, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, with the support of a National Endowment for the Arts consortium grant. I wrote much of it while a composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. The instrumentation—double woodwinds, two horns, and a small string section—resembles that of a middle-period Haydn symphony. The work is in one movement and lasts approximately 15 minutes.

The title refers not to the sea but to shapes of musical energy. The phrases surge at high speed in fluid, constantly varying patterns of sixteenth notes that break apart and merge. Beneath this flux lies a formal process of unitary expanding variations, in which a few events elaborate into a slightly longer sequence, and this into a still longer sequence, and so on until the final variation becomes many minutes long. The sectional boundaries are obscured by perpetual motion and gradual changes in texture. This formal scheme accommodates stylistic variety—including Baroque, Romantic, and minimalist elements—in a seamless way, all controlled by my maximalist voice. The melodic-harmonic treatment throughout is at the consonant extreme of my output, a feature that disguises the radical constructivism that underlies the surface.

Waves was premiered in 1989 by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, John Adams conducting. Later the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra recorded it after many exemplary performances (without a conductor!).

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Types of Products

Full score and Solo Part (Digital)

Chamber Ensemble Score (Print)

Piano Reduction and solo parts (Digital)

Choral Score Set - 16 copies (Print)
Includes 8 copies of the soprano/alto part and 8 copies of the tenor/bass part.

Score and part (Digital)

Score and part (Print)

Conductor Score (Print)

Full Score/Violin Part (Print)

Full Score/Violin Part (Digital)

Piano reduction and solo part (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Digital)

Video and instructions (Digital)

Study Score in Two Volumes (Print)

Score and Parts (Digital)
Score and part PDF files are delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Soprano/Alto Part (Print)

Full Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the full score is delivered via email upon receipt.

Full Score (Print)
A print edition of the score ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Tenor/Bass Part (Print)

Parts (Digital)
A PDF file of the part(s) is delivered via email upon receipt.

Parts (Print)
A print edition of the part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt.

Solo Instrument Score (Digital)
A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Digital)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Score and Parts (Print)
A print edition of the score and part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. The email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer.

Solo Instrument Score (Print)
A print edition of the score is shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Print)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. Print edition(s) of the full score/performance score are shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Multiple copies are included if the work has more than one player. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Choral Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the choral score is delivered via email upon receipt. The set is priced to allow multiple copies of the PDF to be printed for performance by the purchasing organization only.

Choral Score Set- 8 copies (Print)
Minimum order quantity is 8 copies. Single copies are not available.

Vocal Score (Digital)

Vocal Score (Print)

Choral Score (Print)

Full Score and Solo Part (Print)
A print edition of the score and solo part ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Study Score (Print)

Study Score (Digital)