Simple Motives in Minor Modes

Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz, conductor

MMC’s New Century Series, which is now up to 18 volumes, is always a grab bag of various orchestras and compositional voices. No less than six different composers from the U.S. and abroad are represented in the current collection in performances featuring as many conductors leading five different orchestras. But the piece that grabbed my attention this time around was Simple Motives in Minor Modes by California-based composer Robert Reno. Must be something about all that alliteration! According Reno’s program notes, all of the pitch material in this piece, composed in 2000, is based on ascending melodic minor scales except for three pivotal sections which employ an octatonic scale of alternating whole and half steps. That got me even more excited. See if you can hear it…

—FJO