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Spring

Instrumentation: strings
Duration: 8:00
Year Composed: 2012
Commissioner: Canadian Music Centre's
Norman Burgess Memorial Fund

Dedicated to John Gomez and the Ottawa Youth Orchestra


Complete Audio

Posted with the kind permission of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.


Program Notes

I composed Spring in Edmonton during the winter of 2012, one of the balmiest on record. With temperatures above zero most days and little snow on the ground, spring always felt just around the corner—even in January. Visions of blooming trees, chirping robins and flowing water turned out to be just the inspiration I needed to fulfill a commission for the Canadian Music Centre’s Norman Burgess Memorial Fund, one that required me to write a "vigorous" work with a focus on "rhythm and metre" for advanced youth string orchestra.

The principal theme of this rondo, with its rising fifth motif, staccato accents and gushing runs, establishes the work's predominantly exuberant tone. I evoke spring's vitality with syncopation, irregular accents, cross-rhythms and imitation of all types (including fugato and stretto) and the wonder instilled in us by the season's burgeoning activity with contemplative, lyrical episodes.

I composed Spring for the strings of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra of which I am an alum (violin). John Gomez, still the musical director all these years later, remarked, after leafing through the score for the first time, that he sensed its "spring energy: the melt, the softer winds and the growth". I hope that listeners are reminded of that giddy feeling that spring brings as well as the heavy rains that accompany the season of rebirth.

—R.R.


Performances

  • Apr 6, 2017—North Toronto Collegiate Institute Orch, cond. Debbie Pady
    ON Strings Association Orch Festival, York U, Faculty of Music (Toronto)
  • Apr 14, 2016—Symphony Nova Scotia, cond. Martin Panteleev
    Rebecca Cohn Auditorium (Halifax, NS)
  • Sep 19, 2015—Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Bernhard Gueller
    Hamilton Place (Hamilton, ON)
  • Oct 4&5, 2014—Victoria Symphony, cond. Bernhard Gueller
    Royal Theatre (Victoria, BC)
  • Ottawa Youth Orchestra tour 2013, cond. John Gomez
    :: Feb 24—St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts (Ottawa, ON)
    :: Mar 9—Nicolaas en Anthoniuskerk (Monnickendam, The Netherlands)
    :: Mar 10—Maastricht Conservatorium (Maastricht, The Netherlands)
    :: Mar 12—Capitole Theatre (Ghent, Belgium)
  • Ontario Strings Association Youth Orchestra 2012, cond. Mark Skazinetsky
    :: Nov 1—North Toronto C.I.
    :: Nov 2—ON Music Educators' Association annual conference (Toronto)
  • May 6, 2012—Ottawa Youth Orchestra, cond. John Gomez,
    St Brigid's Centre for the Arts (Ottawa, ON)

Reviews

"Rival writes in a very approachable tonal style. The opening motive even recurs as the subject of a fugue in the first section of the work ... it is an effective work by a composer who writes capably and idiomatically for strings."

—David Fawcett, Greater Hamilton Musician, Sep 21, 2015

"[Rival's Spring] afforded concertmaster Stephen Sitarski a brief but moving solo ... Somehow, the piece vividly evoked memories of a young (and foolish) Danny Gaisin kayaking down New York's Ausable River during the early melting snow run-off. The echoing through the chasm; the brief calmness where the river eddies and then the rush of the rapids all were inferred within the music."

—Danny Gaisin, Ontario Arts Review, Sep 20, 2015

Score Perusal & Parts Rental

For score perusal and parts rental information, contact Robert Rival.