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About this Piece

Composed: 1970
Length: c. 8 minutes
Orchestration: piccolo, 2 flutes, 3 oboes (3rd = English horn), 3 clarinets (2nd = E-flat clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd = contrabassoon), 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, bongos, chimes, glockenspiel, maracas, snare drum, suspended cymbals, tam-tam, tambourine, timbales, triangle, vibraphone, wind machine, wood block, & xylophone), harp, piano (= celesta), and strings
First Los Angeles Philharmonic performance: March 26, 1998, Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting (West Coast premiere)

Born in Pasadena, Jerry Goldsmith grew up in Los Angeles, where his composition teachers included Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ernst Krenek, and Miklós Rózsa. After writing music for CBS radio and television programs, he began scoring films with the 1957 western Black Patch, eventually composing more than 175 film scores. Among them are classics such as Planet of the Apes (1968), Patton (1970), Chinatown (1975), The Omen (1976 – Academy Award), Alien (1979), Hoosiers (1986), Basic Instinct (1992), and L.A. Confidential (1997). Among his many television credits are The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1965/66) and a majestic theme for Star Trek: Voyager. He had a close relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, including conducting the orchestra in the first performances of his Fireworks (A Celebration of Los Angeles) in two concerts at the Hollywood Bowl in the summer of 1999.

The masterpiece of his non-film works is Music for Orchestra, composed for Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony in 1970 during downtime in his work on the score for Patton. This was not a happy period for Goldsmith, who was in the middle of a divorce while his mother was very ill with cancer. “All of my personal turmoil — pain, anger, and sorrow — went into writing Music for Orchestra,” he said. There are three clear sections, fast-slow-fast, in the short work – turbulent, introspective, and very agitated, in Goldsmith’s own description. He employed a very lyrically oriented 12-tone technique, much influenced by Alban Berg, and a large, vibrantly voiced orchestra.