Morning Litany
composer: Nancy Galbraith (1987)
genre: symphony orchestra
length: 1 movement, 20:00 minutes
orchestration: 2fl, 2ob, 2cl, 2bn, a-sax; 4hn, tpt, 3tbn, b-tbn;
timp, 3perc, hrp; strings
publisher: Subito Music Publishing (ASCAP)
60 Depot Street, Verona, NJ 07044 • 973-857-3440

world premiere: 7 April 1988
Pittsburgh Symphony OrchestraGennady Rozhdestvensky, conductor
Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
program notes:

When Gennady Rozhdestvensky made his first and only guest appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, he insisted on premiering a new work by a local composer. He selected Nancy Galbraith's newly completed "Morning Litany," and the work was performed at four subscription series concerts in April 1988.

composer's notes:

After a slow introduction, quietly launched by divided violins and violas, the pace increases to allegro, with a short theme proposed by the brass. Clarinets are assigned the following motive, tranquilly and evenly falling and rising. Cellos in unison provide a still livelier, somewhat chromatic, movive based on sixteenth notes. This is passed on the violas, violins, and then bass clarinet in a fugato-like passage. Molto crescendo, the motives combine and result in a high point, triple forte, terminating the first of the four sections comprising the work that is characterized by certain liturgical sonorities.

The second section begins in a lively manner in the brass and builds up to a summit, ending on the notes E and B, an open fifth. After a fermata, the third division begins with a melody in the bassoons (triplets against divided chords in the cellos).

The fourth, and final, section is initiated by first and second violins divided into three parts, playing softly. The music amounts to a modified recapitulation, in which material from the opening section returns. Towards its close, the music again builds to a strong climax, now maintaining to the final bars. —N.G.

press bytes: The unification of material throughout the carefully worked-out score marks a salient stylistic point of the music. Themes recur, shared by various instruments. In the impressioninstic manner, harmonies are often very rich and melodies are sometimes pentatonic. The work, largely centering around the tonality of E, occasionally favors polytonality. —Pittsburgh Press