Premiere:: Jose-Luis Maurtua, conductor, Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra members, 2006
Duration: 10 minutes
Instrumentation: fl., 2 vln., vla., cbs.
KATRINA SUITE was written in the fall of 2005, shortly after the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. This piece, in five movements, was designed to reflect upon five separate aspects of the catastrophe, such as heroism, despair, or the hope of revitalization. However, each movement is based on the same piece of musical material, forming an underlying unity for the entire work, and also tying together the complex range of events and emotions that followed that late August storm.
I. RAIN AND WIND – This opening movement is meant to convey the ominous approach of the coming storm. It begins with a solo in the Contrabass, starting on the lowest available pitch. The movement is essentially the building up of the cascading flute line, and rising bass line.
II. CHAOS – Next, we have the actual onslaught of the storm. Musically, this created by very disjunct, energetic playing by the strings.
III. ROOFTOPS – The third movement is one of despair and helplessness. The same descending line from the first movement is present throughout, with each instrument creating a different sorrowful voice.
IV. RESCUE – This movement is one of great courage and hope. It represents the sacrifice that many people made while trying to help their fellow survivors.
V. CREOLE – Finally, the piece ends with a quasi-jazz movement, representing the hopeful resurgence of the important New Orleans culture.