HUES for orchestra
Three Brief Tone Poems)
Dan Locklair (b. 1949)
Hue – 1. The dimension of color that is referred to [on] a scale of perceptions ranging from red through yellow, green and blue and (circularly) back to red. 2. A particular gradation of color; tint; shade. 3. Color. Middle English : An outcry; to cry out; shout (imitative).
(From The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.)
My three-movement set of brief tone poems, Hues for orchestra, was composed between the summers of 1992 and 1993 on a North Carolina Composer Fellowship Award (competitively granted through the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency). Each movement of the approximately twelve-minute composition is a reflection upon the words that entitle them.
I. Cloudburst – With energy perhaps akin to bursting summer clouds, this fanfare-like movement’s foundation consists of four pitches (C, E♭, B♭, G) and the resulting harmonic sonorities built upon them. The ever-shifting, asymmetrical meters constantly “re-cycle” the harmonic sonorities as the dramatic drive of brass and percussion pour forth their brilliant vibrancy.
II. Moonshine – The serenity and calm of this movement is always framed by the muted strings. Solo and full section wind and brass colors alternate in exposing and developing the movement’s chromatic ideas. Bowed vibraphone and crotales (i.e. antique cymbals), along with the Bell Tree, color this movement like moonbeams dancing upon an evening sky.
III. Sunburst – Based on the ancient Lydian mode (i.e. piano white keys, F to F), yet spiked with chromaticism reflective of II, the asymmetrical meters of I return to energetically propel Sunburst from beginning to end. Though the rhythmic drive is constant, like Nature’s sunrise through the morning clouds, it only reaches its brightest moments following a steady, rising crescendo. At the movement’s zenith, a chorale-like statement from the brass heralds the brilliant arrival of the ending.