o sweet spontaneous
[for orchestra]

Composition Date: 2007
Duration: 00:16:30
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
  • 2 x Percussion
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Violin
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Full orchestra
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Programme Note:
The poem o sweet spontaneous by e.e. Cummings (from tulips and chimneys [Grove Press, New York: 1923]) acts as impetus for the composition. The composition reflects the poem and Cummings’ unique prosaic techniques in two ways:

1. The interruption of traditional flow emblematic of Cummings’ poetry is effective in capturing and maintaining the reader’s attention; the visual aspect of the poetry keeps the reader engaged on a new level, as the reader is never sure whether the prose will continually subvert the syntax or return to grammatic convention. These interruptions translate into musical ideas, as the composition first establishes a normal pace and procedure for introduction and variation of musical discourse, playfully altering this process as the composition progresses.
2. The harmonic and melodic material of the new work revolves around dyadic relationships, comparable to the dualism between life and death so eloquently (and tersely) demonstrated in the poem. The opening of the composition concentrates on the major 2nd interval between C and D, creating harmonic associations for the listener (either C- major/minor or D-dorian). This section incorporates a distinct rhythmic pattern, instantly recognizable on its many returns. The next section establishes a secondary dyadic relationship of C and F (and a new rhythmic motive), changing the harmonic association to F-major. As the composition carries on, additional pitches blur earlier harmonic associations; the composition now moves freely between tonal associations without being “trapped” within a particular key. By the climax, the prevalent harmonic interplay is between D (dorian and phrygian) and F (major and mixolydian). This juxtaposition is reconciled through a resolution to E-flat Lydian (a resolution between life and death (D and F) as established in the poem) before its conclusion.

This piece is made possible through a grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and I dedicate this composition to the Windsor Symphony Orchestra
Commissioned by: Windsor Symphony Orchestra

Premiere Information:
Windsor Ontario Windsor Symphony Orchestra Conductor: John Morris Russell


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1100 G585os
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Full Orchestra (20 or more)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • June 5, 2008
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (53 p.) ;
    53 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
    Parts page count: 160
    27 parts ([160] p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • orchestra
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O Sweet Spontaneous (for Orchestra): Score
(downloadable PDF)
o sweet spontaneous [for orchestra] by Scott Edward Godin (Score)
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