And that, believe it or not, is that. Sure, there are lots of Canadian composers and lots of pieces for orchestra, but just very few symphonies. Excluding the ones by Robert Farnon, which should probably be considered English symphonies, there are only two. Well, three, as I have just finished my first symphony (though I can't say I won't make a revision or two...). So at the very least, I am quite possibly the third finest Canadian symphony composer. How very, very odd!
My Symphony No. 1 (2014) has not yet been premiered, but here are excerpts from the four movements:
The music is basically in C major, though with rather a Mixolydian feel, and I played it for several musicians last week and it was well-received. It's much better than Mozart's Symphony No. 1, but he did write that when he was only eight years old, so, not too surprising!
I am now working on my Symphony No. 2, which will have the title "Three Images" and is inspired by nature. If the first symphony has a bit of Sibelius and Philip Glass in its DNA, then the second will owe a bit more to Debussy. Here is a sample page from the first movement of this second symphony. The titles are in Spanish as I think it likely that it will first be performed here in Mexico:
The title of this particular movement is "Pájaro blanco, cielo azul" or "White Bird, Blue Sky" in English. I suspect that in a couple of years, without excessive effort, I will have multiplied the number of Canadian symphonies considerably.
These are not lengthy works. My writing has been called "pithy" and I suppose it is. I prefer concision and elegance to length and turgidity so my music is often brief. I also like clarity so I tend to thin the texture more than thicken it. The Symphony No. 1, with four movements, is only fifteen minutes long. The Symphony No. 2 with three movements will not be much longer.
But isn't it really odd that so few Canadian composers have written symphonies? Comparatively there are tremendous numbers of symphonies by American, British, Finnish, Swedish and Danish composers. Here is a list of symphonies by American composers.
There is literally nothing I can post for you to listen to that is immediately relevant. There is no Robert Farnon symphony on YouTube (and he is really English in any case) and there is no music by Stephen Brown at all. There is some by Anthony Genge, but not his Sinfonia. And mine has yet to be performed. In the absence of a symphony, about all I can post is this Piano Concerto No. 3 by Harry Somers (who did not write a symphony):
I wonder why we have a number of piano concertos, but almost no symphonies, by Canadian composers?