“high-octane adrenaline… peppered with the influences of film scores and big-band jazz”
Tim Hinck’s first symphony will premiere in Kansas with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Daniel Hege on March 9th, 2024.
At the end of 2021, I was approached by a private commissioner to compose a four movement symphony. With a few simple prompts stemming from a conversation about Surrealism and particularly Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky”, I was given full license to let my imagination loose in composing my latest symphonic work. The work began to take shape over the next 12 months, but it was only after securing a premiere with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra that the piece really came into focus. I always write for my musicians; I care deeply about their experience, and I always say that if my music isn’t fun to play then the audience will never buy it! I had the great opportunity to spend time with many of the WSO musicians while working on this Symphony. These relationships and the time I spent over two trips to Wichita were invaluable in bringing the composition to completion.
I decided to take an unexpected approach and make my very first symphonic statement a sunset. The challenge was to capture both a sense of grandeur and space (think herds of bison) but also incredible quiet and solitude. But even in the stillness of this scene, you can hear the movement of creatures stalking and chasing each other, a theme that will return in each of the movements. Sibelius was a constant influence in this movement, not only in the way that he referenced nature (in an emotional rather than painterly way), but also in his very modern and rarely imitated way with tonality. The second movement is not a sleepy night, but one full of adrenaline and pursuit. You can almost hear the waves of tall grasses whispering in the wind at the beginning, and tiny mice scattering as things go “bump” in the night. One of the only requests that Maestro Daniel Hege made of me as we discussed the composition in progress was that he would love a little “primal, rhythmic drive”. I hope you’ll hear that I fulfilled that wish in this second movement! The third movement is the briefest and is quite surreal. I was hugely influenced by Stravinsky’s take on the ballet blanc (Apollo), but you may also catch the brief moment of rushing pursuit towards the end of the movement. Finally sunlight breaks through in the last movement and the energy of the chase is at its high point. There are also blatant leaps into the world of Big Band Jazz, Viennese Waltz, and even Musical Theatre. And I did manage to work in one final Kansas reference with one of my favorite themes of the piece, a lofty theme that is unmistakably one of soaring flight.