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Convergence

The Boston Pops commissioned Chris to write “Convergence” in 2001 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Boston’s revered Symphony Hall.

The composition is presented in three movements, with the second flowing seamlessly into the third.

The piece as a whole represents the convergence of many American styles and idioms, translated into the medium of the Pops orchestra augmented by rhythm section and electric bass. ”A convergence of cultures, when we are at our best, is what Americans have been achieving socially and musically for many generations,” Brubeck writes.


He’s got a hit on his hands, with a long life ahead of it.
(Excerpt of The Boston Globe review by Richard Dyer. See full review below)

The composition can be heard on the same-titled CD, “Convergence” (Koch International Classics) as recorded with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. It also is available on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon, etc.

For purchase or rental information visit the Contact page.

Instrumentation

  • 2 Flutes
  • Piccolo
  • 2 Oboes
  • English Horn
  • 2 Clarinets in Bb
  • Bass Clarinet
  • 2 Bassoons
  • Contrabassoon
  • 3 Horns in F
  • 3 Trumpets in C
  • 2 Trombones
  • Tuba
  • Offstage Brass Choir with: 2 Horns in F; Trumpet in C; & Bass Trombone
  • Timpani
  • Percussion: Drum Set, 2 Bass Drums with Cymbals attached; Suspended Cymbal, 2 Snare Drums, Vibraphone, Tam Tam, Tamborine, Cowbell, High & Low Toms, Tenor Drum, Marimba, Ride Cymbal, Xylophone, Tubular Bells
  • Combo Bass
  • Harp
  • Piano
  • Violins
  • Violas
  • Celli
  • Contrabasses

Program Notes

Download Full Notes

Reviews / Comments

MUSIC REVIEW
'Convergence' a Bravura Premiere for Pops By Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe, 5/18/2001

Wednesday night's Boston Pops concert brought a great event, the world premiere of the most ambitious work ever commissioned by the Pops: ''Convergence: Concerto for Pops Orchestra'' by Christopher Brubeck.

The eyes of Keith Lockhart and the Pops staff lit up a year ago when Douglas Yeo played Brubeck's Concerto for Bass Trombone. This was the composer they were looking for. As Lockhart remarked to the audience Wednesday night, ''The Boston Symphony commissioned the `Concerto for Orchestra' from Bela Bartok in 1945, and now the Boston Pops has its own concerto.''

The piece is in three movements. The first, greeted by cheers, is called ''Journey to the Land of Dreams.'' The other two - ''Reminiscence in Blues '' and ''La Grande Parade du Funque Jubilee'' - overlap, and they earned an ovation too. The composer, seated with his proud parents, Dave and Iola Brubeck, spent the entire intermission signing autographs.

The first movement features the brass and winds; it begins with a small brass group in the balcony, and the first prominent solo went to trombonist Yeo. The mood is urban and exciting; the composer writes that it is about the ''bold vision and courage'' it took to ''carve out a new beginning in the New World.'' Brubeck is a lifelong resident of a neighboring state; he might have called this movement ''A Connecticut Yankee in New York City.'' Sharp ears picked up an allusion to ''Blue Rondo a la Turk,'' one of his father's most famous compositions.

The second movement concentrates primarily on the strings; the blues motif is first heard in the solo violin (Tamara Smirnova). Toward the end the offstage brass are heard again, changing the mood to celebration, and the focal city to New Orleans. The whole finale is an exuberant clash of tonalities and rhythms, the unusual meter of 7/4 predominating.

The piece as a whole represents the convergence of many American styles and idioms, translated into the medium of the Pops orchestra augmented by rhythm section and electric bass. ''A convergence of cultures, when we are at our best, is what Americans have been achieving socially and musically for many generations,'' Brubeck writes.

He's got a hit on his hands, with a long life ahead of it.

© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.