Chris Litherland

The Earth Music

for symphony orchestra ( - - 2 timp - 2 perc - strings)

duration: 12 minutes

The Earth Music is a journey. It takes many of the classic ideas of journeys - light to dark, birth to death - and puts them in a new context. It is the story of a birth, or a creation, that takes place above the earth, and then a journey down into the earth and experiences of all the delights, ending with ascension into the sunset.

The central theme recurs many tunes in the piece in a number of forms. It is first heard at bar 19 in the low woodwinds, however it is not until bar 91 that we hear it in its true form; this could be described as the central point in the work. From then on we hear the tune in more and more augmented forms, and it is only at the very end of the piece, the ascent into the sunset, that once again we hear the theme in its true form in a dramatic tutti for the entire orchestra, ending with a quick decrescendo and a resounding ringing of bells.

Chris Litherland
Born, 5th June 1987 in Okehampton, Devon, I moved to Dumiries and Galloway when I was nearly three and now live in a small village near Castle Douglas where I go to the local school. I took up playing the tenor horn when I was nine and my interest in music developed from there. I now play in my local wind band and in a jazz / rock group with some friends. I also play the piano, trumpet and French horn, all of which I have taken up in the last three years.

However much I enjoy playing music, my first love is composing and I have been creating music since I was nine. Last year I was one of the three winners of the BBC / Guardian Young Composers Competition, for which I wrote a piece for marimba and piano. I also won our local Young Musician of the Year Competition playing Mozart on my tenor horn. Recently I have been commissioned to write an orchestral piece for my local orchestra, the Solway Sinfonia, which will be performed next March. I am working on that piece at present.

I like a variety of music ranging from classical to jazz and rock. My favourite composers are James Macmillan, Harrison Birtwistle and Stravinsky. Recently I have also been enjoying other musicians such as Frank Zappa, Miles Davies and John Coltraine. Although I have had no formal composition training, I have explored a wide range of music and I like to think my music has a freshness and originality that I can develop when eventually I have the opportunity for more formal tuition. I hope that I will eventually be able to develop a career in music and in particular in composition.

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