The Depth (1991-92)
First performed on February 17, 1993 in Ann Arbor, MI by the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claire Levacher in Hill Auditorium. Written in Greenville, NC, Ann Arbor, MI and Winston-Salem, NC.
The tone poem, The Depth uses the form of album Side One of Pink Floyd's The Wall, the instrumentation of Mahler's Ninth Symphony, and musical fragments from both, to create an abstract wash where the worlds of Rock and Romantic Classical music come together. In fact, it is designed to open a program of Mahler's Ninth Symphony. To take it even further, one should hang out at home and listen to the entire album The Wall and then catch a cab to the concert hall to hear 1. The Depth followed by 2. Mahler's Ninth Symphony.
In five sections, the work begins with "The Show," which is a refraction of "One of These Days," the stunning opening to The Wall. It moves into a shadow of a waltz, "Skating," which echoes "The Thin Ice" from the Floyd. This is the most complex music of the work, utilizing metric modulation and aleatoric passages while working and reworking tiny rhythmic and pitch fragments (culled from the Mahler as well as the Floyd). It reaches a climax, quoting the end of the climactic David Gilmore guitar solo in some very high French horn writing, and explodes. An oscillating D-C pedal point is left in the floe, and an original chorale begins. This mellower moment, entitled "Just a Memory," is reminiscent of "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1." The fourth section (Allegro Moderato - Propulsion Variation), is an accelerated variation on material primarily drawn from the immediately preceding section. Being quicker in tempo, it calls to mind the faster corresponding section on the album side, "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" and "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2." There is a transition to the final, beautiful section "Cozy and Warm," echoing "Mother," the final song on side one of The Wall.
4 Oboes (2. doubles English Horn)
1 Bass Clarinet (doubling Eb Clarinet)
The instrumentation of The Depth intentionally corresponds as much as possible with that of Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony. The exceptions are as follows:
One less clarinetist is used
A pianist and extra percussionist is employed
Doubling patterns in the woodwinds are altered