A Farmer's Symphony

John Estacio
John Estacio
Composition Date: 1994
Duration: 00:19:00
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
  • 2 x Trumpet
  • 3 x Trombone
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 2 x Timpani
  • 2 x Percussion
  • 1 x Harp
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Full orchestra
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Programme Note:
When I was young and growing up on a vegetable farm in Newmarket, Ontario, it always amazed me how one small box of seeds sitting in the corner of my dad's storage shed could fill up the entire barn five fold in the autumn. Just as a farmer begins witha seed, I chose to start my symphonh with one single pitch. Consequently the first movement, 'The Seeds of Spring', begins with one single reiterated pitch, an "A". The gentle sounds of rain and wind are created in the percussion section. After a couple of minutes, the harp begins an acceleration in tempo and the piece takes on a more defined shape. A perpetual motion pattern in the harp and vibraphone provides a subtle harmonic backdrop to a solo clarinet which creates a melody from the first few pitches introduced in the opening. The brass choir builds the movement to its loudest point which encompasses the entire range of the orchestra. The movement ends with a return to the ambience of the opening.
"Summer Nocturne", is slow and lyrical and was inspired by warm, quiet summer evenings and the sound of the crops rustling in a gentle breeze. The lower strings begin this movement by playing a theme in their dark, lower registers. This theme, derived from the previous movement, undergoes a maturing process through the second movement. Among other instruments featured in the score, the harp has a prominent role.
The final movement, "The Harvesters", begins with the sound of a large engine winding up to life. In this movement I attempt to depict machine and man by contrasting mechanical discordant chattering against bold intrepid melodies. Unabating in energy and speed, this movement drives the composition to its' conclusion, not much unlike the human stamina required to bring the farming season to a close. (Program notes from the score)

Premiere Information:
April 16, 1994, Northern Alberta Jubilee Aud., Edmonton; Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Michael Lankester, cond.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1100 E79fa
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Full Orchestra (20 or more)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • October 23, 1995
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score ([3], 90 p.) ; 43 cm.
    93 Pages
    Height: 43 cm
    Parts page count: 357
    27 parts ([357] p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • 2(picc)222/4231/timp, perc (2), harp/strings.
    Ms (photocopy); original in CMC Toronto. Parts available for rent from CMC Toronto.
    Composed for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra as part of the Composer in Residence Program, with the assistance of The Canada Council.
    Duration : 18:00
    The third movement of this work was a nominee in the Outstanding Classical Composition category of the 2005 Western Canada Music Awards.
    I. The Seeds of Spring -- II. Summer Nocturne -- III. The Harvesters.
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