Friday, February 20, 2009

Re-lighting "Stomp"

David Schiff on the "re-lighting" of Stomp.

I always find that orchestration is the fun part of the compositional process, the icing on the cake. When ACO asked me to scale down the size of the orchestra for Stomp so that it could fit into Zankel hall, I quickly decided that instead of just doing a quick fix I would re-score the piece thoroughly--so much so that the new “re-lit” version (the piece was originally titled “Stomp”) is quite distinct from the original. Originally it was scored for a standard chamber orchestra with pairs of woodwinds and single brass plus drum set, xylophone and piano. The new version uses a wind section that is more like a jazz octet: flute, clarinet, two saxophones, horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba. These instruments have a lot more firepower than the original band, even though they are fewer in number, and their greater dynamic range allowed me to beef up the string and percussion writing. I think the new scoring is much more appropriate for the style and mood of the music.