I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (2017)
for wind symphony
New consortium commission organized by
Dr. Rebecca Phillips, Colorado State University
Dr. Christopher Chapman, Oregon State University
Dr. Les Hicken, Furman University
Dr. Catherine Rand, University of Southern Mississippi
About the Work
My newest work for wind symphony is based on the iconic painting "I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold" by Charles Demuth. Considered to be a seminal work of modern art that led towards cubism, the painting has an incredibly bold and striking design that draws the viewer inwards. The painting itself is similarly inspired by a work from a different medium: William Carlos Williams' poem "The Great Figure" which describes a fire engine hurtling down a busy city street.
In my work, I have tried to use abstract techniques to create a bold work in the vein of the original painting. The number five is expressed in many different ways including the prevalence of perfect fifths, rhythmic techniques based on the number five, and an adaptation of Bartok's five-part arch form. The work uses literal text painting by emphasizing brass, saxophone, and bell timbres throughout. While largely lyrical in nature, the movement builds to an energetic allegro concluding with a massive choral finale.
Perusal Score (opens new window)
Prior Works for Wind Symphony
Join the Commission!
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For traditional invoicing or other forms of payment, please contact the composer at: James.David@colostate.edu