John B Hedges

composer & musician

Someday My Prince (2009)

for string quartet

Duration: 16'

Program Notes:

Someday My Prince is a response to many elements converging at once in the summer of 2009: the commission of the string quartet, my own engagement and subsequent marriage, my love of fairy tales, early Disney films, and my first real exposure to Bill Evans' exquisite piano playing. Musically, the work takes as its launching point the intimate and intensely personal recordings of the famous Disney tunes ‘Someday My Prince Will Come’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ made by pianist Bill Evans during his Riverside recording years. The initial impetus to use these recordings was as a nod to the Riverside chamber players and their founder, cellist Joel Dallow (a Plainsfield, NJ native as was Evans) who commissioned and premiered the work. But the quartet is above all else, a celebration of love.

A loosely programmatic piece, it is structured in four basic sections around the story of ‘Snow White’, using certain elements as a metaphor for the search and struggle to find love. The first section of the work, ‘Wishing’ , relates a naive, childlike sense of fairy tale love, the whimsical certainty of which is slowly eroded by self awareness and doubt as the material (and our imaginary protagonist) begins to mature. The second more aggressive section, ‘Lost in the Forest’, depicts the sensation of chasing and being chased, moving in, out and through a forest of relationships with all their varied negotiations, adventures and failures. The music moves as well between moments of muscular, dense rhythms to jazzy cadenza-like dialogues. Sometimes exciting or frightening the music keeps pushing forward but inevitably spirals out of control.

The third section ‘Encased in Glass’ evokes a numbness or shutting off to the possibility of love. The protagonist sleeps, protected by a glass wall erected to keep out the painful possibilities of hope, resigned to solitude and isolation. The arrival of a ‘Prince’ signals the end of this section and his love for our imprisoned protagonist wakes her with a single kiss. A final section, ‘Waltz’, begins with a simple, dream-like combination of the fairy tale Disney Waltz melodies with references to Bill Evans’ own ‘Waltz for Debby.’ This little fantasy gives way to an elegant dance, building steadily into an ecstatic finale in which our original belief in true love, naive and frail, is reaffirmed with twirling exuberance.

Someday My Prince - Score & Set of Parts
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