Carson City Symphony

Original Program Notes provided by A. Paul Johnson for the April 23, 2011, concert

Symphony No. 1 (The Romantic) by A. Paul Johnson

(Program notes provided by the composer)

This Symphony was composed in 1995 while I was serving on a National Endowment for the Arts residency grant to create Musical Theater works for inmates to perform during their incarceration at the Federal Correctional Institute in Manchester, KY. The austere environment of working in a prison encouraged flights of imagination during production down time, and the sounds in my head that came to the fore in this Symphony certainly were important for me therapeutically!

I did "borrow" two major themes. First, the waltz theme in movement II came from an incidental score to Shakespeare's All's Well That End's Well that I composed a few years earlier for a production at American Stage in St. Petersburg, FL. The director was mixing metaphors with some aspects of the production set with Elizabethan d├ęcor, but also nodding to Victorian and 20th Century modes with costume and furniture. The scene and dance utilized the "valse" from the Opulent Era, and so originally was scored for alto saxophone, recorder, and harpsichord to ensure a congruent time warp. The final movement has much of the meat from the Romantic Overture, commissioned for the 50th Anniversary of the Indianapolis Philharmonic in 1992. So much was similar that I have taken the Overture from my catalog and let this finale stand in its place.

This Symphony was premiered by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for their "Fresh Ink 2000" Festival with Darryl One conducting. It also has been recorded by the Prague Symphony Orchestra with Roger Briggs and is available on the MMC label with other concerti and the Mofro'n'Mo Overture under the album title "Xtreme Classical." This Symphony won me my second Individual Artist Fellowship from the Florida Arts Council shortly after its premiere.


This page last updated 4/24/2011