Symphony no. 6
pour orchestre

Alan Belkin
Alan Belkin
Composition Date: 1997
Revision Date: 2014
Duration: 00:35:00
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Full Orchestra (20 or more)


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Flute
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 2 x Clarinet
  • 2 x Bassoon
  • 4 x Horn
  • 3 x Trumpet
  • 3 x Trombone
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 1 x Percussion
  • 1 x Harp
  • 1 x Celeste
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Full orchestra
Programme Note:
My sixth symphony was composed in 1997, and revised in 2000. The work is in 4 movements, and lasts about 1/2 an hour.
My private nickname for this work is “the Ghost”, because of a short, ghostly passage which haunts each movement in turn, rather like a silent person who is never out of one’s thoughts. It is also in part an "homage" to Sibelius' 5th symphony: The motive of low oscillating chords that starts and ends my symphony was inspired by the chiming brass “pendulum” theme in the finale of the Sibelius, although the character here is of course quite different. My orchestration was influenced by the fact that in composing it I at first incorporated some
synthetic, non-instrumental sounds. In the final version, these were rearranged for normal orchestral instruments, but some of the combinations are rather unusual.
The first movement is an Allegro, with a brooding start and finish. However, in the course of the movement the mood is sometimes quite exhilarated. The end is intentionally slightly abrupt; the spooky pizzicato motive accompanying high muted strings (the “ghost” idea) will have consequences in later movements. I wanted to give the impression that despite the four detached movements, on another level, the work is continuous.
The second movement is an Adagio, very serious, with a rich, passionate outbreak at its tutti climax. After that, the spooky mood which ended the first movement returns; in fact, the whole ending echoes the last part of the first movement. Again, I am playing with the issue of whether the work is really in one movement or four: I
believe the form is enriched by an element of ambiguity.
The ensuing scherzo is the shortest movement, and very playful. A chorale- like section leads to the trio, which recalls, once again, the “ghost”, now however somewhat more developed.
The finale is the most substantial movement, and brings back the oscillating "Sibelius" idea, as well as other
reminiscences from the first movement. After extensive development, including another “ghost” variation, a
short passacaglia, and a few other episodes, the coda arrives, bringing the (“Sibelius”) chordal motive back one
last time, at three simultaneous speeds - slow on the bottom, medium in the horns, and fast in upper ww, and
leads to the symphony's only "real" ending, in a blaze of brass.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1100 B432sy6 2014
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Full Orchestra (20 or more)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • December 12, 2014
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (74 p.) ;
    74 Pages
    Height: 43 cm
    Width: 28 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Pour orchestre: 2222/4331 - 1 perc - timbales - célesta - harpe - cordes.
    En 4 mouvements.
    Cette oeuvre a été composée en 1997, révisée en 2006 et 2014.
    Oeuvre déposée au CMC Québec.
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