Symphony No. 9 Op. 160, James Barnes Concert Band
The first movement, subtitled Elegy, is based around G minor. It is the longest movement of the symphony. Tragic and despondent in character, it is cast in sonata-allegro form. The second movement is entitled Scherzo. Barnes claims that “I have always wanted to write a waltz,” and that is how this movement is cast, in a modified rondo form in D minor. In contrast to the mood of the first movement, the scherzo is a delightful posy of expansive melody, splashy color, humor and rhythm. The third movement, which is in a modified tertiary form, is entitled Night Music. In contrast to the scherzo, this movement begins with a mysterious incantation, first displayed by solo Alto flute. The music becomes even darker and more mysterious, while overall the movement effectively expresses an “otherworldly” mood, ending with a solo soprano offstage which suddenly emerges, eerily singing a modified version of the opening incantation. Cast in sonata-allegro form, the fourth movement is most definitely a rousing Finale, beginning with a brilliant fanfare and undergoing several mood transformations before emerging into the final coda, ending the symphony with an energetic splash of color.