THE REDEMPTION OF THUNDER (2021) - for Orchestra
2 Flutes (2nd doubling Piccolo)
Clarinet in Bb
Bass Clarinet in Bb
2 Bassoons (2nd doubling Contrabassoon)
4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in C
2 Tenor Trombones
Percussion (3 players):
Glockenspiel, Crash Cymbals, Suspended Cymbals, Tam-tam, Bass Drum
Duration ca. 10'
The Redemption of Thunder is inspired by the sort of dramatic “question” that Beethoven asked at the beginning of the finale of his Ninth Symphony: basses and cellos, representing an inner turmoil of the mind, ask a question of existence. But here, the universe replies coldly. Then, in a revelation, the universe offers an “answer,” a consoling chorale that alternates with the anguished question. The answer, and the calm after the tempest, ultimately comes at the cost of a great musical storm in the center of the work, a storm of the mind as all storms truly are.
Here, the "storm" is primarily in the strings, with thunder both sudden and rolling, and owes a debt to some of the great "musical storms" of the past, perhaps in particular to Tapiola by Sibelius, evoking a Shakespearian "storm on the heath." Humankind has always equated thunder with divine power far beyond ours: what invention of humans has ever equaled the blaze and crack of lightning? The grace of all storms is that they eventually pass, cleanse, and the morning emerges glowingly bright in the renewal of a new day. Thunder also shakes the body and the soul to the core, and its cathartic power redeems faith in life and love. The title however has a double meaning: is it possible for the storm and thunder themselves to be redeemed for their destructive and overwhelming power and effect on mere mortals? If thunder is the angry voice of the Gods as has been believed for much of human existence, do the Gods themselves seek, and deserve, forgiveness for unleashing the storm?
As the questions in the basses and cellos return at the end, the ultimate answer comes as a gift of memories: a glowing, luminous final section with many combined themes and melodies floating in and out as if shining billowy clouds high in a blue sun drenched sky, softening the world, offering at least a vision of what peace, and heaven, may sound like.
The Redemption of Thunder was originally the fourth movement of my Symphony No. 4 (2021), but its inherent drama demanded to stand on its own and to tell its own story.
Corey Field - The Redemption of Thunder
The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Stanislav Vavřínek
First Leaf Music Label
Available for streaming on all leading digital music services
Youtube (with scrolling score): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJRjsoyvLBU