Symphony No. 5 (World Premiere)

  • Phoenix Symphony 75 N. 2nd Street Phoenix, AZ

Music Director Laureate of the Phoenix Symphony Michael Christie leads a program that centers on Respighi's two giant orchestral works, Fontane and Pini di Roma. Also included on the program is the world premiere of the Hagen Symphony No. 5. There are two performances on 9 October - at 11:00 am and 7:30 pm and one on 10 October.

Program Note for Symphony No. 5

  1. Desert
  2. Intensive Care
  3. Ghost Trumpeter
  4. Susurrus
  5. Interrupted Dream

“My fifth symphony is composed in memory of my brother Kevin Hagen, a protege of Arts Administrator Carl Dahlgren, who enjoyed a long and eventful management career in the symphony orchestra world here in the States, with posts at the Milwaukee, Florida, and Illinois Symphony Orchestras, the Denver Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and New Mexico Symphony.

The words are drawn from a book of poetry by JoAnn Falletta, a longtime friend, musical champion, and music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony Orchestras.

There are five movements. The third and fifth feature a vocalist. The first movement is a chaconne — a series of repeated chords — that inhabits a sort of desert-like, arid emotionally-remote landscape.The second movement is a musical mobile whose constituent elements are an ostinato based on the “S-O-S” Morse Code rhythm, a scrap of melody, like a half-remembered hymn, a heart-monitor-like recurring beeping sound, and a shred of distant trumpet calls. The third movement sets the Falletta poem, “Ghost Trumpeter,” and is a portrait of the relationship between conductor and orchestra. The fourth movement is another chaconne based on the chords from the first movement, this time susurrus-like and rainy, like a summer shower. The finale sets another Falletta poem, in which transfiguration and death figure. 

There’s comfort in some of the music, but mainly a peculiarly Midwestern muted fervor prevails. Ideas from the previous movements return, and an effort is made to find guidance in half-recalled Lutheran hymns. Elegiac, unsentimental music ushers in a return of the symphony’s opening and a final farewell.”