Like its predecessors in this series, Angelfire is cast as a one-movement arch form. Schwantner has written: ‘The music begins with several strongly punctuated gong-like pedal tones in the orchestra, followed by a series of incisive and declamatory phrases for the solo violin, articulated in its lowest register. Emerging from this rather stark and austere texture is a recurring and increasingly prominent phrase presented by the strings, which gradually reveals the work’s primary harmonic kernel. These clear, straightforward and direct initial elements form the basis for all of the musical materials generated, transformed and developed throughout the work.’
Angelfire was commissioned by the Howard Hanson Memorial Institute of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. Schwantner wrote it for Anne Akiko Meyers, and the score is dedicated to her.
from notes by Laurie Shulman © 2005