Fly Homeward, Mercury!

Conductor's score (11x17)

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Duration12 minutes

Instrumentation: (2222/4221/timp.2perc.pno/strings)

Program note:

This work was composed as my doctoral dissertation at the University of Cincinnati, and was awarded first place in the annual orchestral music composition competition at CCM.

The mythological figure of Mercury inspires images of a messenger frenetically on his way, outfitted in winged-hat and sandals. Son of the Roman god Jupiter, god of trade, profit, and commerce, he was also the patron god of thieves. Hence his swiftness, in addition to the apparent duplicity of his character, lends credence to the word "mercurial."

The work at hand embodies the duplicitous traits of Mercury, at once ebullient and soaring, it is at other times tragic and pathetic, as bold orchestral fanfares give way to darker, more ominous textures. Set in three main sections, fast-slow-fast, a narrative of the messenger is set forth as it implies bravado, tragedy, and an ultimate though unexpected victory.

Fly Homeward, Mercury! was composed in memory of my brother-in-law John Anthony Quayle, whose swift and mercurial spirit lives on beyond the cancer that took his life.

Concert Premiere: June 6, 2003 by the CCM Philharmonia, Mark Gibson conducting.