The Open Field-orch-pgs1-9-secure05 The Open Field-I (excerpt_ opening)The Open Field was commissioned by the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra with funds provided by the New York State Council on the Arts. The piece was premiered on 22 April 1990 by the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Schneider. The commissioning body had asked for a piece, approximately ten minutes long, which featured the brass. I was already at work on the fanfare- like figures of the opening and closing sections when news came, first of the incredible, then of the terrible events in Tiananmen Square of June 1989. The freedom of mind which I had been celebrating in the opening of the piece seemed called into question and this questioning is reflected in the darker inner sections of the piece. When I first received this commission, I did not set out to write any kind of “documentary.” In fact, the earliest “field” was from a poem by Robert Duncan (the first in his 1960 collection called The Opening of the Field, which begins “Often I am permitted to return to a meadow / as if it were a scene made-up by my mind, / that is not mine, but is a made place, … “). However, I think it was inevitable that the piece became caught up in that unbelievable year which ultimately led to the breaking down of the Berlin Wall. It is for this reason, with deep respect, the piece is subtitled “in memoriam Tiananmen Square (June 1989).” – HT

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