Scherzo Frenetique


for orchestra
duration: 2’



First Performance $175.00
Each Additional Performance $125.00
[Indicate # of performances in box]


Scherzo Frenetique (2006)

for orchestra
duration: 2’

Composed for The Florida Orchestra, Stefan Sanderling, Music Director

Scherzo frénétique, was to be a play on words with the schizophrenic nature of the piece: quick start, slow interlude, fast again, briefly slow, and then cranking up to the exciting finish. But I was looking for something that would encapsulate both the nature of the music, and the nature of the request from the Florida Orchestra. My requirements were to write a brief “miniature,” no longer than 120 seconds, and to use the existing instrumentation, which meant no timpani and percussion. To me, this meant that the “machine,” in this case The Florida Orchestra, was “short” on resources from their usual percussive battery. Because it is only 100 seconds in length, and most of it is a scherzo, and especially after reading Adams’ piece being described as frenetic (already in my title), I couldn’t resist the obvious correlation.

The music itself is based on the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. Already programmed for the concert was the Adagio from his Tenth Symphony, so hidden in my Fast Ride… are references to his first nine. The opening motif in the brass uses as a bass line the keys of all of the symphonies: D C D G C# A E Eb D F# (some major, some minor). This is repeated several times, and the piece is structured around it. Also included, though not so obvious at times, are quotes from the symphonies. These are not necessarily meant to be heard and counted by the listener, but perhaps to be discovered by anyone so inclined to study the score.

Lastly, because the music was written as a request from the very fine Florida Orchestra, it was my intent to make this piece an extremely brief Concerto for Orchestra, so that almost every section of the orchestra would have a chance to shine during the 100 seconds of its duration.

Jim Stephenson, Composer – August, 2006