tone poem for orchestra

Tim Labor
Tim Labor
Composition Date: 2010
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Full Orchestra (20 or more)


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Flute
  • 1 x Flute
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 3 x Clarinet
  • 2 x Bassoon
  • 4 x Horn
  • 3 x Trumpet
  • 3 x Trumpet
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 2 x Percussion
  • 1 x Other electronic
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Full orchestra
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Premiere Information:
August 27, 2010
St. Andrews United Church
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra
Dinuk Wijeratne, conductor


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1100 L123bl
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Full Orchestra (20 or more)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • December 21, 2012
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (49 p.) ;
    49 Pages
    Height: 43 cm
    Parts page count: 420
    32 parts (available for rental) ([420] p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Blomidon, a cape located at the end of the Minas Basin in Nova Scotia, Canada, impresses visitors entering and exiting the north end of the
    Annapolis Valley with its ever-changing dramatic visual profile, cultural
    associations (including legends of Mi’kmaq god, Glooskap), and natural
    grandeur. The musical composition, Blomidon, is an impression conveyed in the form of a symbolic musical drama in which a hybrid of European Romantic art music, mixolydian concert band music, algorithmic composition, and folk music, is guided by the idea of hidden narrative and cinematic montage.

    The “story” concerns a heroic thematic (musical) element (characterized by a melody played by a solo violin) as it transforms from a state of naivete into one of greater psychological integration. The first of three sections exposes the sound-design metaphors of the piece (nature and technology) and orchestrally characterizes the unseen hero with an interruptive psychic flaw. A journey by this hero-element leads to mental collapse at the hands of violent discorrelate forces (dissonant woodwinds and brass) and a sound design interlude ensues. In the second section, a hallucinatory adagio in a second key suggests avenues of psychic reconstruction through a vision of nature-past (birds) while the flaw motive from the first section is elaborated on and ultimately “understood” in terms of a string chorale. The new use of previously
    underestimated naïve elements propels the piece into a final (fast) section in which a grappling between old and new keys results in the dominance of the new. The unseen hero implements their dream-understanding in the new key, and the discorrelate elements that led to the initial collapse are tamed into a simplicity capable of supporting a Cape Breton style jig based on the character’s flaw motive. This develops into a reflowering of the heroic thematic element from the beginning and an evocation of rebirth. In a final coda the discorrelative elements dissolve into the natural world, ending with a reification of transformed individuality through trial (solo violin).

    The idea of an orchestral piece with a sound design element is not new. Ottorino Respighi included a nightingale recording in Pines of Rome in 1916, the theatrical techniques of hidden performers were used both by Ives (The Unanswered Question - 1906) and Holst (The Planets - c.1916), and electric fans and other devices were used by George Antheil (Ballet Mecanique, 1923). In Blomidon the electroacoustic sound design elements support the narrative just as the orchestral instruments do. Although some sections of the piece clearly create a sense of physical environment, the idea here is not to create an imaginary movie soundtrack, but to put sounds together in a montage that reflects their abstract metaphoric significance with regard to both natural (birds, ocean sounds, etc.) and technological forces. Blomidon (the actual geological formation) both provides a concrete image for the language of nature in the sound design, and (in both music and sound) a symbol of mysterious changelessness and a potential touchstone between ineffable forces the “story mind” of the musical composition itself doesn’t even understand.

    Blomidon was composed for the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra under the direction of Dinuk Wijeratne, and was premiered on August 27, 2010 at St. Andrews United Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
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Blomidon tone poem for orchestra: Score
(downloadable PDF)
Blomidon tone poem for orchestra by Tim Labor (Score)
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