Year: 2018 (rev. 2019)

Instrumentation: 2[/pic]222/4321/tmp+3/hp/pno/str

Duration: Approx. 10′


*Reading 2018, April with New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra – Jordan Hall, Boston, MA, USA



‘Capitalist Dreams’ for Orchestra is a reflection on the wonders of capitalism through the eyes of an excited newcomer to America as they reconcile their aspirations with reality. It explores admiration and caution for a system of enormous scale; a system rooted in merit, wealth and the relentless demand for progress; a system of boundless opportunity and endless marvel for those who can keep up. While the work does not depict an explicit program, it does take its arc from these concepts of hope, struggle and progress.

The sonic starting point of ‘Capitalist Dreams’ was the running progression of chords approximately two thirds into the work. This figure provides the core harmonic material from which nearly all the melodic material in the work is derived. As the work was composed retro-synthetically from this point, the emphasis of the work is on the progress towards this material and its subsequent development. Care is taken to avoid explicit use of the source harmony until later in the work, instead creating different harmonisations, textures and metric profiles, such that the materials presented in the first half sound somewhat unrelated to those of the second half. It is only later that the connection is made clear, via the superimposition of competing combinations of melodic, harmonic and metric material from earlier in the work with the original source material.