Symphony No. 4

Catalog numbers: 

EBM EBM0610106/ HL 45070

Duration (minutes): 
Detailed Instrumentation: 
3343 4331 Timp Pc Pno/Cel Hp Str
Composed in 1958, this symphony is in three movements, each given a descriptive character title: Burlesque, Elegy, and a Pastorale. The "Burlesque" movement quickly awakens the listener with lurching, grotesque yet joyous rhythms, with melodic fragments floating through the individual instruments; for contrast, a sweet solo violin voice interrupts and sails above them. In the "Elegy," we hear fragments of the first movement overlapping into the dense and tragic mood of the counterpoint. The "Pastorale" opens with lovely wind and string counterpoint suggesting a darkened landscape and a feeling of longing or loneliness, with only rare touches of the trilling birds and shepherd's pipes that are normally depicted in such a pastorale. The mood is left unrelieved and unresolved by the abrupt ending in the lower strings, which is a Sessions signature, as he apparently had no interest in "big" endings. Description by "Blue" Gene Tyranny