PROCELLA n. (Latin)

Storm, gale, tempest, hurricane

 

This piece will take us on an adventure through a storm. The piece begins by setting up the scene: the calm before the storm, featuring a very diatonic harmonic language. However, before we can settle into the comfortable key of Bb, unsettling swells in the clarinet forshadow the soon to come chaos that will ensue.

As the section progresses, rain drops start to fall in the clarinet and the piano. Soon they are joined by harp and bassoon as the orchestra slowly begins to crescendo and grow harmonically. Then, with the trombones entering with dissonant notes, the orchestra crescendos into the start of the thunderstorm. As percussion and piano bang away like thunder, a wind machine swirls and the strings tap on the bodies of their instruments to imitate heavy rain. With a violent crescendo, the tempest quickly grows. Aeolus is merciless and he drives everyone away.

Amidst the chaos, we find an escape into shelter and the turbulence comes to an abrupt end. Under a roof, we experience a sense of security; however, now that we are inside and safe, we start to regard the storm as a harmless adventure—something exhilarating, rather than chaotic. Along with the English Horn, we begin to think of the storm as a noble character, not unlike the Byronic Hero. Filled with thoughts of Romanticism, we decide to venture back out to experience the noble work of nature. As the strings play a sweeping passage, we burst out the doors, filled with passion. At first, it is just as we thought: a beautiful Byronic scene. We move along with the winds in a waltz, galloping on Tempest's back. But soon it dawns on us that Tempest has no reins. We are not in control of Tempest. Tempest controls us.

Before we know it, the storm blows us away off our feet into it's own waltz. The Whirlwind's Waltz throws its own rendition of the sweeping string theme at us, juxtaposed with the turbulent theme from the start of the storm. Finally, after being pulled apart between the arguments of the Anemoi, we are thrown against a large tree. We manage to hold on for our life and listen to the thunder crash around us. Under the tree, we almost feel a sense of security, but this comfort doesn't last long. Soon enough, we feel our arms weakening and our grip loosening. We close our eyes and brace ourselves for the wind to take over us once again . . .

No more wind, no more rain. We cautiously open our eyes and look to the sky. Clear. Still, around us, Jupiter's wrath continues to echo; but where we stand, peace. The Eye of the storm. In the peace, we recall the calm before the storm as the strings play a beautiful Bb9 chord following the natural overtone series.

It's over now, we think. The circle is complete.

Little do we know that this is only a temporary pause—an intermission as we are taken off guard by the eye wall of the cyclone and everything goes black . . .x

PROCELLA

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