Kyle Gann: The Disappearance of All Holy Things from this Once So Promising World (1998)

for chamber orchestra

The title is from a poem by the great San Francisco beat poet Kenneth Patchen, a poem called "One Who Hopes":

Born like a veritable living prince
With small, pink, rectangular feet
And a disposition to hair, I stand
Under the blazing moon and wonder
At the disappearance of all holy things
From this once so promising world...

The Disappearance of All Holy Things from this Once So Promising World was written in September and October of 1998 at the request of the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, and is gratefully dedicated to its conductor, the great cellist Luis Garcia-Renart. The middle contains a spiral canon of the type I have also used in Chicago Spiral and Cyclic Aphorisms, and the last section includes a viola solo. I extend a special thanks to Joan Tower.

Premiere Performances by the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra:
Nov. 7, 1998, Church of the Holy Cross, Kingston, NY
Nov. 8, 1998, St. John's Church, Hurley, NY
Nov. 11, 1998, Olin Auditorium, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Additional performance so far: June 15, 2006, in Paris, Elizabeth Askren conducting the Orchestra of Sciences Po at the Grand Salon of the Foundation of the United States

Duration: 11 minutes

PDF score here


2 flutes
2 oboes
2 clarinets in B-flat
2 French horns in F
trumpet in B-flat
violins I and II
solo viola

- Kyle Gann

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