Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Year: 1999

Heading: for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and baritone soloists , adult and children's choirs, and orchestra

Movement Titles:
1. January: Dans Macabre
2. February: Korea
3. December: Levittown

4. September: Letter to God
5. November: Died to Bullets
6. October: Perfect No Hitter

7. August: Guitars
8. July: Hanoi Hilton
9. June: The Farm

10. May: Birth of the Teen
11. April: April Fools
12. March: Na Na Finale

First Performance:
09 October 1999
Avery Fisher Hall, New York, New York
Margaret Lloyd, Soprano
Mary Phillips, Mezzo
Anthony Dean Griffey, Tenor
Jubilant Sykes, Baritone
New York Choral Artists
The American Boychoir
New York Philharmonic / Kurt Masur

4(III,IV=picc).3.corA.2.2bcl.ssax.2asax.2tsax.bsax.3.dbn BD/tamb/ dr/t.bells/claves/sandpaper bl/maracas/slapstickharppftSoprano, Mezzo, Tenor, Baritone soloists, SATB Choir, Children's Choirstrings

Duration: 62'

by Philip Littell

Michael Torke's "Four Seasons" delighted the ears...with its deft tunes and scoring...
—Alex Ross, The New Yorker

...a brilliant piece of showmanship, abetted by Philip Littell's epigrammatic text. The score abounds in electric, off-kilter rhythms and vivid individual episodes- a touch of jazz, a bluesy sax solo, one orchestral passage of Brahmsian solemnity. A piece full of color and vitality, and consistently engrossing. —New York Post

Program Notes:
It is interesting and perhaps culturally important that support for the creation of new concert music is coming from an entertainment company. The leading export of the US is entertainment; for a company like Disney to look inward and initiate a project that goes beyond entertainment becomes an interesting and healthy sign for how America sees itself culturally, and how the rest of the world sees us.

For this reason I was stimulated to compose a symphonic oratorio called Four Seasons, which, inspired by an original treatment by Michael Eisner, explores personal stories (collected at the ABC archives) from the last five decades. These stories have been given poetic form by librettist Philip Littell, who has arranged them into a cycle of twelve ?months? that begin in winter and, moving backwards, end in spring.

Though truly a large milestone on our calender, the millennium is nonetheless periodic, and one way to understand the millennium is to consider time by analogy to its smaller recurring units?months and seasons, as experienced in the last 50 years. In the end I learned that only by understanding the patterns of the past can we project ourselves into the future.