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The River of Light


THE RIVER OF LIGHT (which I completed in 1996)  is the third of a trinity of ballets composed for the New York City Ballet for choreography by Peter Martins, the head of the company.  Like the earlier two, the work contains a network of references and allusions to the DIVINE COMEDY of Dante, in the present case, the Paradiso.  I describe the relation of the score to its poetic stimulus the way I have because the music is in no sense narrative, indeed hardly even referential at all.  Rather, the exterior structure of the piece is reflective of aspects of Dante's cosmology, and on a more mundane level of his versification technique.  And of course it is suffused with my response to the extraordinary beauties of the poem itself, and what it means to convey.


The work was originally scored for string orchestra with percussion (including piano, harp, and celesta).  The chamber version is scored for 13 instruments, flute/piccolo, clarinet/bass clarinet, oboe, violin, viola, cello, contrabass, 3 percussion, piano, harp and celeste.