Symphony for Susan Logoreci

ENS.2010.3 | 16′
2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Trumpets, Harp, Piano, 2 Cellos, 2 Basses


1. Facade

2. Hieratic

3. Whirling

After completing my first “pocket symphony”, Symphony for Ammi Phillips, I wanted to continue in that direction, but inspiration simply didn’t come. So I filled sheets of music paper with scribbles, pads of graph paper with numbers, gradually coming up with each of the individual elements needed to describe a piece—but what the piece would be, I didn’t exactly know.

Eventually three musical images swam into view. First, a straightforward melodic polyphony, but obsessively decorated, like Islamic art or a terracotta frieze. Then, a monumental slow movement, great blocks of sound shimmering and grating against one another while archaic dances are heard in the distance. And finally, small cells whirling and dancing themselves into a brittle luminescence like flickering florescent light.

The overall metaphor I had in mind was: architectural. But I also wanted something brightly colored and flat, seemingly without perspective, like Matisse or medieval manuscripts. Then suddenly I finally had the flash of inspiration that had so long eluded me. Architecture…bright colors…Susan Logoreci!

I first saw her drawings in McSweeney’s, her suburban subdivision and container ship leaping straight from the pages into my brain. With colored pencils she draws immense visions of cities situated in endless whiteness, planes of brilliant color twisting and floating on otherwise empty pages. As a New Yorker, one work that particularly gets me is an angled view of the city from a vantage somewhere near the top of the Time Warner Center, except where Central Park would be is a vast expanse of white. It is simultaneously gorgeous and a little eerie. Although this piece does not depict any of her individual works per se, I think they share a certain perspective and creative impulse.

Symphony for Susan Logoreci is scored for pairs of flutes, oboes, trumpets, cellos and basses with harp and piano, creating a sound focused on high and low sonorities but capable of considerable warmth in the middle. The three movements I envisioned have been entitled Façade, Hieratic, and Whirling, and the piece lasts about fifteen minutes.