Instrumentation 2/2/2/2; 4/2/3/0; timp + 2 perc; orchestral strings
Percussion requirements (1) chimes, snare dr, log drum (low), sm. lion’s roar, med. woodblock, glass wind chimes, 2 glass jars, bundt pan (old style, thick metal), sm. tamtam, hi-hat cymbal, triangle, vibraslap; (2) chimes (share with 1), glock, bass dr, lg. lion’s roar, sticks, bamboo wind chimes (or bin-sazara), sandpaper blocks, anvil, lg. tamtam, low cowbell, sm. susp. cymbal
Commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with funding from the Ontario Arts Council
World Premiere April 18, 2001, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ontario. Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste, conductor
Performances by Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestra London, Regina Symphony, Ottawa Symphony
In the last few years I have become increasingly interested in writing music that dances — music with a strong pulse and lots of energy — and “Violet Crumble” gave me just the inspiration I needed. The gooey candy, the nervous energy that comes with too much sugar, the caffeine in the chocolate, the idea of “shattering,” the image of “tumbling” — all of these have found their way into this short one-movement piece. After a slow introduction that luxuriates in rich chocolate, the sugar kicks in, and the music takes off at a non-stop frantic pace, constantly switching ideas and shifting focus as it succumbs to the effects of a few too many Violet Crumbles.
Violet Crumble was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with funding from the Ontario Arts Council. It is dedicated to all those who believe sugar, chocolate and caffeine constitute a food group.
Indeed, the effects include swooning melodies, manic screeching and a percussionist banging on a Bundt pan as the sounds follow a pitiable snacker from rush to crash—and, inexorably, to popping another piece in his mouth. The music is similarly addictive. (Jen Graves/The News Tribune, Tacoma)
Jeffrey Ryan offered a toothsome confection, a twist on conventional programmatic music, with markings such as “luxuriously” and “hypoglycemically.” Mostly playful, with the moment of high over-indulgence especially humorous, this piece of nervous energy is also a meditation on the nature of pleasure. With sharp shifts in tempo and pulling all the stops with the deliberate self-indulgence of the confirmed chocoholic, this thoroughly engaging concert opener is the kind of “modern” classical music that seeks to communicate, even seduce, rather than alienate its listeners. (J H Stape/Review Vancouver)
…a sugar high of sounds. (Peter Robb/Artsfile)
PDF score excerpts
Full-size Score $80 print, $48 PDF
Study Score $49 print
Conductor score + parts available on rental
To purchase or rent, please contact me.