Paul Alan Levi, composer

Light at Play

For orchestra

9 minutes


I began composing this piece with no title in mind, no story, no visuals, just a haunting melody that came to me unbidden, occurring near the beginning. What came next was often surprising to me, sometimes astonishing -- where did that come from? -- to the point where I wasn't sure if I was creating the music or discovering it. I was carried along on this journey by the notes and colors at play, and much of the music is indeed bright and playful, although there are lots of other moods and colors, lyrical, melancholy, sometimes darker and threatening, sometimes brilliant and ecstatic.  The title, Light At Play, came last.

 

In spite of my intentions, the music often suggests visual images, though each of us will perceive them differently, or perhaps not at all.  Some moments suggest to me sky writing dissolving into vapor trails, when each note of a melody is sustained by another instrument, creating unusual harmonies and textures.  Sometimes the notes pile on each other in a rising scramble, like lemmings racing for the cliff. As the piece goes on, melodies, rhythms, textures, and colors come and go, often sounding new and at the same time reminiscent of moments earlier in the work.  Light At Play unfolds like a story, though without words or plot.  Although it's not a long piece, it's packed full of events. 

 

Writing for orchestra is a privilege and a joy.  I've dedicated Light At Play to Maestro Christopher Hisey, who encouraged me to write it and conducted the premiere with the American Chamber Orchestra.


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            Listen to Light at Play.                                 Scroll down to peruse score.