A Phoenix Symphony (Tito Munoz, cond.) gave a stellar performance of my orchestra work City Music on Nov. 8, 9, & 10, 2019. The recording below is from the Nov. 9th performance. I wrote the work when I was 24, and after the premiere in 1976, I made several cuts and edits. I continued to refine the edits with each successive performance until a performance in 1986, when I was finally satisfied enough to consider it the “final version.” By this time, the parts and score, which were in manuscript of course, were in pretty bad shape. I decided I needed to recopy the work. Then I decided to wait until computer software became good enough. Then I got really busy. The work did not get recopied until about twenty years later. This is the work’s first performance since I recopied it.
G. Stallcop – City Music – 1. Song Phoenix Symphony, Tito Munoz, cond.
G. Stallcop – City Music – 2. Dance Phoenix Symphony, Tito Munoz, cond.
Notes for City Music
City Music (1974) was my first major effort for orchestra, written just after I left college and took a position as a double bassist with the Phoenix Symphony. It was written as a gift and tribute to Vilem Sokol, legendary conductor of the Seattle Youth Symphony, to whom I owe the inspiration to pursue music as a career. It was first performed by the Seattle Youth Symphony, with Vilem Sokol conducting, in the Seattle Opera House, in May 1976.
Following a period of experimentation in college, I set out with this piece to consolidate what I had learned while attempting a more colloquial style. At the time, most orchestras were not performing “pops” concerts, but I felt that rock, blues, and fusion jazz had a lot to offer. This work was the result. With the exception of Bernstein, most readily accessible American music was either overtly Romantic or based on folk or country music. This work was based more on music from the city, hence the name. Though the work does show a marked influence of the blues, and a lavish use of idiomatic percussion, the end result is primarily orchestral.
The first movement, “Song”, paints an exotic and cosmopolitan picture of the city with its esoteric sophistication and elan. Essentially a set of variations, the movement features two lavish and virtuosic fast variations and an extended bluesy cadenza for solo violin. The second movement, “Dance”, characterizes the hustle, bustle, and mega-caffeinated reality of life in the city. Its popular rhythms, cast in the form of a rondo, come together for an extended coda which builds to a wild frenzy at the end.