Symphonyop. 88 (1998-9)
IV=asax,tsax).3(III=dbn)-6.4(III=picc.tpt).4.1-timp.perc(9):xyl/glsp/vib/marimba/t.bells/crot/4tgl/jingles/BD/SD/TD/cyms/3susp.cym/sizzle cym/tam-t/gong/tamb/whip/wdbl/chinese blks/claves/maracas/
Boosey & Hawkes
Royal Albert Hall, London
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Donald Runnicles
If Mahler thought that the symphony should be like the world and contain everything, then Holloway’s Symphony moves outwards to observe the 20th century’s music-making from outer space. It is a monumental work on an epic scale, both in terms of length and of orchestration. Commissioned by the BBC Promenade Concerts for the 2000 season, Holloway was asked "to render the outgoing century in music". He has always maintained that his music is made up of all that he has heard and learned since the cradle so, as ever, the score is full of allusions to the great musical figures of the twentieth century. And, of course, there are references to the two Great Wars and the Cold War. The central movement is an immense scherzo, while the final Epitaph – Todesmeer, a reference to a late Second World War painting by Paul Nash, is a slowish epilogue interrupted by a short intermezzo. Despite its initial premise and its huge orchestra, this is a major work that deserves further hearings.
Repertoire Note by Peter Marchbank