Indiana University New Music Ensemble
David Dzubay, conductor
DURATION: 12 minutes
Available on Dzubay Dzubay: Chansons Innocentes (IUSM 13). (and at online retailers)
Composed as part of a "Tiffany Window" project produced by the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Vision is one of three works commissioned for performance in churches in the Albany and Troy area that are well known for their important windows produced by the Tiffany Studios in the early part of the 20th century. My contribution was inspired by the windows in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, in Troy, New York, generally considered to be the only totally integrated Tiffany designed interior in the U.S.
Vision relates most specifically to window #9, which portrays the vision of St. John looking up at the Holy City, found in Revelation 21:10-13: And in the spirit he [one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues] carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of god. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. There were three gates facing east, thee north, three south, and three west.
How perfect if I was a twelve-tone composer! Though I'm not, one can find a pervasive use of the number 12 in the work, from the 12 instrumentalists surrounding the audience - 3 in each direction, plus the (angelic?) Harp/Percussion duo ‚ to a 12 minute work divided into 12 sections. Further, many rhythmic elements on small and large scales are influenced by the use of the first 12 Fibonnaci numbers (1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34-55-89-144).
The 12 sections fall into 4 parts, with subtitles as follows:
PART I: like glowing embers of a scorched earth...
PART II: "And in the spirit he carried me away to a great high mountain..."
PART III: "radiance...like that of a precious stone...twelve gates...three..facing east...north...south...west."
PART IV: gleaming celestial city
PART I is essentially an introduction to the narrative of the window found in PARTS II-IV, and represents an earth ravaged by the seven Plagues of the Apocalypse.
The integrated design in St. Paul's, where one is surrounded by Tiffany windows and mosaics, suggested the placement of the musicians, particularly since it suits the narrative, with 3 gates in each direction. I've also attempted to make the instruments "glow" in some way perhaps analagous to the glow of light through Tiffany's beautiful windows, with shifting hues as the light source changes and moves. There is also a progression in the work from dark to light, which can be found in a number of Tiffany windows. (David Dzubay)
Vision was first performed March 25, 2000 by the David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony Orchestra in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Troy, New York.