A Flash of Transport

This recording is a MIDI sequence  programmed using a single PC running  Cubase, and Gigastudio. The instruments are a combination of Vienna Instruments and Garritan Strings. I would be interested to know if anyone would have thought this was an actual orchestra, had I not revealed otherwise.. Please comment below.

A Flash of Transport was composed in 1992, commissioned by the Shasta Symphony Orchestra for its 43rd concert season. Richard Allen Fiske, who commissioned the work, wanted a piece between five and six minutes long. When I began writing the music, the emerging shape of the piece was making it difficult for me to keep it within that time length. Consequently, I abandoned a slow middle section that I thought was needed for balance.

The music begins with a throbbing pulse that accumulates rhythmically through the first 13 measures. Suddenly, the music shifts to a slower, more rhythmically free passage that lasts about 30 measures before the pulsating rhythm resumes. This slower, freer music that interrupts the regular rhythmic flow is what I call the “transport,” or the breaking away from the incessant rhythmic pulse. Originally, the transport music was to be developed fully in the middle section. Since I had to eliminate the middle section, this music only occurs one more time as part of the climax near the end. Therefore, I named the piece “A Flash of Transport” because there are only two brief occurrences (a “flash” or moment) of the transport music.

Several years later I revised the piece to include the middle section, resulting in a piece that is about twice as long (the version that is here). Since the transport music is given fuller treatment, there now is more than a “flash” of the transport music. Nevertheless, the original title stands.

There are several motives in this piece. One of the primary motives is based on the first four notes of an oboe solo that occurs at the end of the scene “Imperial Surprise” from The Empire Strikes Back.

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Star Wars Oboe Solo

There is nothing striking about these four notes, and they certainly do not comprise a recurring theme or motive in the film. In fact,  I don’t know if they ever occur anywhere else in this movie or any of the other Star Wars movies.  But the first time I saw the film and heard those notes, I could not forget them. They stayed in the back of my mind for years before I decided to use them as motivic material. I ended up using this motive in a couple of other pieces as well during the early 1990s.

One Response to A Flash of Transport

  1. OH!!!!! It is the most exciting music I have heard in an extremely long time.
    I WAS POSITIVE that it was a live orchestra!!!!! BUT, could NOT believe the recording
    acumen!!!!! IT IS SENSATIONAL!!!!! YOU are MASTERFUL in the creation of places
    that are sustained to which you take your listener, to say nothing of the mammoth energy in
    so MANY forms of ACTION. THIS MUSIC IS BREATHTAKING AND DESERVING OF WORLD AUDIENCES!!!! The shimmering effects soon after the beginning, are not to be believed. It would be impossible to describe this work well…with words.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Andrea Marsavonian