“2020: A Symphonic Poem in Five Movements” is scored for full orchestra. The First Movement, “The Golden Age of Pyrite” begins with a lively Americana landscape and ends with a quiet solo flute playing the 13th Century Chant, “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath). The second movement, “Covid-19” depicts the horror of the pandemic virus as it violently mutates and spreads across the nation and the world. The movement ends with the full orchestra playing the chant first heard at the end of the first movement. The third movement, “Hail to the …?” paints a portrait of a confused leader as the virus continues to spread out of control. The music combines “Hail to the Chief” with short quotes from Liszt’s “Les Prelude” and Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” The fourth movement, “Threnody”, is an elegy for the many victims of the virus. It features a solo cello accompanied by strings, harp and timpani. The last part of the movement includes a set of variations over the famous harmonic progression from Mozart’s “Lacrimosa”. The last movement, “Surviving the Pandemic”, returns to the thematic material of the first movement, plus a march and anthem celebrating the bravery of the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. The composition ends with a statement of hope and of liberation from the pain and suffering of the 2020 pandemic.
This original work is based on a four voice canon “When Jesus Wept” by William Billings that was composed during the American Revolution Era.
The text of the original canon was written by Billings:
“When Jesus wept, the falling tear
in mercy flowed beyond all bound;
when Jesus mourned, a trembling fear
seized all the guilty world around.”
The form and structure of the score is a set of variations on the Billings theme first introduced by the solo violin and then developed by the solo violin and the string orchestra in 12 variations.
Copyright 2020 by Frank W. Becker and Becker Ditto Music
“A Moment of Calm in a Time of Anxiety” is a short composition scored for piano, harp, cello and strings. It is a quiet, meditative work composed to honor the doctors, nurses, medical workers, journalists, truck and delivery drivers, grocery store and government employees who continue to bravely and unselfishly work to serve people around the globe in this time of tragedy and anxiety.
I composed “Stonehenge” for Flute, Percussion and Synthesizers in 1982. It was first performed in Japan and later recorded on EMI Angel Records by Ransom Wilson and Tom Raney on the album “Glass Reich Becker”. The 2019 scores have updated electronic elements and exists in three versions – one for solo flute and recorded accompaniment; a second for flute, percussion and recorded accompaniment; and a third for a quintet (flute, violin, clarinet and piano [four hands] plus recorded accompaniment).
Here’s an image of a page from my original score:
“Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra” is a three-movement work featuring two solo pianos accompanied by a full symphonic orchestra. Each movement is a contrapuntal dialogue between two solo pianos. The first and third movements are Allegros while the second is an Adagio (Pas de deux). The new work was completed in May 2018.
The studio recording of the Concerto was performed, recorded and mixed on MOTU’s Digital Performer 9.5 Sequencer, Native Instruments Kontakt 5 plugin, Audio Ease’s Altiverb 7 Convolution Reverb and Izotope’s Ozone 8 Mastering Suite.
The solo piano parts were performed on two Synthogy Steinway Pianos while the orchestra parts were recorded on Cinesamples’ Woodwinds and Brass instruments, Native Instruments Orchestral Percussion and Cinematic Studio Strings.