Fastball (2004) for large orchestra
3323 4331 timp. 3 perc. pno., harp, strings
"Hedges once again scored with an audience pleaser...The sounds were brash and exciting. His bright crowd-pleasing compositions have been well received here, so it was no surprise that this one, a world premiere, would score points."
Olin Chism, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Fastball is a tribute to the game of baseball and the pure thrill of a 95mph fastball rising quickly to meet a batter standing 60 feet and six inches away. The excitement of this moment, created by the endless possibilities of the outcome, is the essence of the game. Though the epic American story of two players facing off in a battle that lasts only seconds has been retold many times from Casey at the Bat to The Natural, the core event of the pitch itself is repeated over a hundred of times every game. Each of these moments carries the same uncertainty and potential excitement as the clichéd classic baseball climax: two out bottom of the ninth, bases loaded. The repetitive nature of this ritual is shown in the piece formally by three pitches; each has a moment of anticipation, then a windup, release and an outcome upon reaching the batter. The outcome the first time is a strike (shown by a sudden slower blues feel.) The anticipation quickly mounts for the second fastball, which the batter connects with for a long fly foul ball (represented by a fanfare – trumpets and horns which dies down again to the blues): strike two. This raises the thrill factor for the next pitch as the anticipation of the opening is mixed with an excitement of the batter’s last swing as the ritual is repeated once more to a final climax.
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