Fireworks’ latest project brings improvisation into the classical concerto context with a tour de force for amplified chamber ensemble and orchestra.
“Plaudits for venturing into the musical unknown… The work pushed the players to achieve a jazz sensibility and a bit of a rock groove as they alternated with the amplified six-member Fireworks Ensemble… melodies, motif development, the colors, the drive, solid harmonies, and the orchestration were all first-rate.” —Geraldine Freedman, The Schenectady Daily Gazette
Composed by Fireworks’ director/bassist Brian Coughlin, Play presents a fresh take on the classical concerto by pitting the six amplified soloists of Fireworks (on violin, cello, electric guitar, bass, drum set, and piano) against a symphony orchestra. Over the course of the 25-minute, three-movement work, Fireworks takes a single melodic theme on a voyage through a wide variety of styles and contexts—including jazz, rock, funk, minimalism, and a Beethoven-esque scherzo—each of which serving as a framework for improvisation by the ensemble.
Play can be performed on its own, with arrangements of works from Fireworks’ repertoire for ensemble and orchestra, or as part of a residency project with student orchestras focusing on improvisation for classical musicians (see Fireworks Ensemble’s Education Materials for more details).