Premiere: May 19, 2005, Cleveland Orchestra, Severance Hall, Cleveland
to an exerpt
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from the score
The concept for Translucence evolved from a poem, "The Exchange," by May Swenson. I originally set this poem for tenor (James Gilchrist) and harp (Alison Nicholls).
For my commission from The Cleveland Orchestra, I wanted to create a strongly lyrical piece. The words/images of "The Exchange" and my previous musical setting of it became the materials with which I would explore the poem on a symphonic scale.
Translucence is one continuous movement, but there are two parts. The first part is an abstract exploration of certain images from the poem - a journey through which to pass before arriving at the second part, which is based on the song itself. Some images are prominent...a murmur that builds into a complex mix of voices ("Populous and mixed is mind"), multiple string parts with superimposed wind and brass layers, released into a kind of plea ("Earth, take thought"). This leads to a rhythmic section-"I will be time"- which is an earthly dance.
Although the song is greatly expanded - exploded is perhaps a better term - and reinterpreted, I wanted to retain its essence, its lyricism and my direct reaction to the powerful poem. The meaning of the word "translucence" - a passing of light - is expressed in different layers. Poetry is the light that inspired the music. May Swenson's original concept of "Exchange" could be the transfer of the body to nature (the poem is inscribed on her gravestone). And finally, Translucence is dedicated to my mother, whose name, Claire, translates as "light."
"Botti's Translucence an effective study of contrasting colors and atmospheres. Botti has a real gift for textures ranging from the ethereal to the cataclysmic" -- Donald Rosenberg, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
...sheerly beautiful score. Where others seemed intent on overwhelming, Botti persuaded with soft elegies, ethereal interludes, and a vigorous, lumbering dance, all steeped in poetry by May Swenson...vivid music..." -- Zachary Lewis, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Fl1, Fl2 (dbl Alto Fl), Fl3 (dbl Piccolo)
Ob1, Ob2, Eng Hn
Clar. in Eb, Clar. in Bb, Bass Clar.
Bsn 1, Bsn 2, Contrabsn
4 Hns in F, 3 Tpts in C, 2 Tbn, Bass Tbn, Tuba
1) 2 cym, tam tam, sandpaper blocks, triangle
2) 2 cym, sandpaper blocks, triangle, cowbell, rattle, temple block
3) marimba (with low C), glock