John Middleton - Symphony No 3 'The conversation'

Symphony No 3 'The conversation'


Symphony orchestra Soprano soloist Baritone soloist

Recording, click here

Other Information

The recording link is to the 4th movement - see below

This symphony comes from reflection about existence, the nature of reality; the emotions of loss and of joy.

Ist Movement: An heroic life

All life, from conception onwards, is a struggle for existence and for expression of the life force, and it has a finite trajectory. In this sense, I am referencing Beethoven s Eroica symphony no 3. Specifically, it prefigures the conversation portrayed in the third movement.

2nd Movement: Agnus Dei

We all experience loss, the need for help, and the struggle to re-engage with life. This also has the potential for nobility: even though the experiences are always with us, we can learn from them and they can make us stronger.

3rd Movement: The conversation

This is an imaginary conversation between a father and a daughter who was not born alive. During bereavement, many people experience hearing voices of those who have died. This is distinct from psychosis, where those affected have difficulty distinguishing what is reality. However, the nature of reality, subjective experience and the spirit is a mystery.

4th Movement: Concertante of the spirit

The composer enters a place where the mystery is where words are inadequate, though words from the previous movement are recalled by solo flute, oboe, violin and cello. In this place, away from the fragmented ego and its world, music is received. Being true to this vision helps the music speak to others, as in a communion of spirits or perhaps a collective unconscious. It has the potential of being at the same time universal and individual. The spirit is playful; there is pain, but joy predominates. Much of the preceding material is reworked and the piece resolves on the main theme of the first movement.