Clare Shore's Midwinter  for orchestra

Date of completion: October 26, 2007; Approximate Duration: 7'45"

Program Notes

Midwinter for orchestra was inspired by and draws material from two pre-existent musical works -
Gustav Holst's Cranham, one of two well-known musical settings of Christina Rosetti's poem
In the Bleak Midwinter, and Neidhart von Reuental's (c. 1190 - c. 1240) medieval "winter song",
Winder wie ist nu dein Kraft ("Winter, now your end is near"). Strains of the Holst tune are hinted
at in the clarinet solo at the beginning of the seven minute work and unfold ever more evidently
throughout the orchestra until interrupted by a brief burst of jubilant syncopated activity. Neidhart's
"winter song" follows, introduced by plucking and strumming violins with the lower strings
accompanying in the manner of bowed medieval viols. Joined by medieval hand drum, the dance-
like melody soon follows in solo flute. Once the Neidhart melody is passed to solo clarinet,
reminscences of the Holst tune begin to recur above and below and ultimately dominate the musical
fabric, culminating in a complete, harmonized statement of Cranham,  triumphantly sounded by
all forces.

Midwinter, commissioned by and dedicated to the music department of Tappahannock United
Methodist Church and its music director, Davidson Burgess, was premiered by the group on
December 9, 2007.


E.C. Schirmer Music
Call E.C. Schirmer toll-free:1-800-777-1919

Listen to excerpts from Midwinter


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