A Symphony of Glances

A Symphony of Glances


a symphony in four movements for Wind Ensemble (20')

Add files to Cart

in four movements

Completed in March 7, 2010.

Instrumentation: Wind Ensemble (picc, 3 fl, 3 ob, 4 cl, 2 bass cl, bn, cbn, 2 alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax, 4 hn, 4 tr, 2 trb, bass trb, euph, tuba, 4 perc)

Dedicated to Cynthia Johnston-Turner and the Cornell Wind Ensemble. World premiere on May 8, 2010

Movement titles: from T.E. Hulme (1883-1917), published posthumously as "Fragments (from the note-book of T.E. Hulme, who was killed in the war.)" in The New Age (No. 1517, Vol. XXIX. No. 23, Thursday, October 6, 1921)


A Symphony of Glances is a symphony about symphonies. Throughout the piece’s four movements, we hear glances of older symphonic works - Beethoven in the first movement, Sibelius in the second, Lutoslawski in the third, and Respighi and Debussy in the fourth, among many others. The work is not, however, a pastiche; these fragmentary references to older works are integrated into the musical structure, which is organized around four poetic fragments by the English writer T. E. Hulme (1883-1917).

Hulme was a well-known poet and critic in his day, and he was heavily influential on literary modernism. When he was killed by an exploding shell in the first World War, these poetic fragments were doomed to remain forever unfinished in his sketchbook. They are beautiful both in their incompleteness and in their profound simplicity.

In A Symphony of Glances, Hulme’s imagery provides a frame of reference for traditional symphonic forms. His bold, conflicted vision of birds informs the grandiose first movement. The dissonant sonorities of the slow second movement eventually melt away into his “desolate street of stars.” The quick, colorful Scherzo movement paints his fluttering “bats.” And his vision of music sweeping “Over a void, a desert, a flat empty space” informs the structure of the final movement, in which musical material shifts and rotates until finally settling “on a calm sea.”

This Symphony is dedicated to Cynthia Johnston-Turner and the Cornell Wind Ensemble, who performed its premiere. 

This digital download includes a full score (Tabloid-size) and a part for each instrument.



The Cornell University Wind Ensemble, directed by Cynthia Johnson Turner

Purchase this album