NEC Symphony + David Loebel: Lanning, Berlioz
NEC Symphony, directed by David Loebel, performs Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, op. 14 as well as Roc's Crater by Mathew Lanning '23 MM, winner of the student composition competition.
This is an in-person event with a public live stream.
Mathew Lanning '23 MM | Roc's Crater (2021)
The 21st century composer lives in a period wherein they are liberated more than ever, yet also more restricted. Today’s composers spend their lives swimming upstream against a current charged with the triumphs of yesterday’s masters, compounded by our musical intuitions’ reliance on the currency that is Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach. Classical music has touched all our hearts in profound ways, and it is from my own experiences of this that I draw on the foundation of any piece that I will write: to be expressive and enjoyable.
So, Roc’s Crater is an orchestral fantasy I wrote simply to be expressive and enjoyable. Inspired by a vivid, grandiose dream, I invite the listener into the musical world of this surreal, vivid fantasy, defined by rich, ever-evolving harmonies and colors.
In this dream, a secluded mountain range hides an ancient meteor crater inside its valleys. Painted with lush greenery, bright neon flowers, and rushing waterfalls, this sanctuary marks the territory of the Roc, a leviathan of the sky. A bird the size of a lion with talons like eagles, he watches over the grand landscape with the eyes of a hawk.
But the crater is not easy to find, nor is it a simple walk in the park to discover. Hidden deep in the mountains, a long and arduous hike across peaks and valleys is to be traversed. Along that path is a melting pot of beasts both friendly and mischievous. Fluttering songbirds tweet their melodies, signaled by the flutes and piccolos. Gentle four-legged giants roam and bellow their groans personified by the low strings and brass. Little goblins dance a flurry through the rocks in a fast-paced scherzando with sudden leaps and jumps of orchestral sound.
And when we do finally approach that majestic crater, its appearance is announced by a thunderous orchestral roar, flowering immediately into a lush chorale inspired by the harmonic musings of the great Maurice Ravel. Moments in this grandiose apotheosis are unapologetically suggestive of the vigorously florid orchestration of the great orchestral masterwork Daphnis et Chloé, as well as the tragic beauty of the G Major Concerto’s second movement.
At last, the Roc appears, bursting forth from the trees just beyond the crater. He soars gracefully into the air, signaled by the orchestra’s crescendo into a glorious, golden climax. He calls out into the valley below, his cries cutting through the orchestra by the French horns and trombones. Off he goes into the horizon, leaving behind only a few tweeting songbirds as the orchestra too disappears into near nothingness. Alas, the majesty must come to an end, and we are left thereafter in quiet contemplation as the piece closes.
I would like to acknowledge and thank my parents for their undying support, and Professors Gandolfi, Agócs, and Richardson here at NEC for their invaluable kindness and support in extending such an opportunity to me.
– Mathew Lanning
Mathew Lanning is an award-winning composer, pianist, and organist based in Boston, MA, hailing from Prescott, AZ. He is a 2nd-year master’s candidate in composition at NEC, currently studying under the tutelage of Michael Gandolfi, and formerly under Dr. Kati Agócs.
Mathew’s works have been praised by professional composers and audiences alike. Since publishing his first work at the age of 14, he has feverishly and prolifically continued to compose for orchestras and for the piano. He acquired seven separate orchestra premieres before graduating high school and has since had his piano and chamber music played across the continent in places like Phoenix, Tucson, Boston, Philadelphia, and Toronto.
His pieces have been performed by groups of all ages and abilities around the United States, some of which include Boston’s Transient Canvas and New York City’s Grammy-nominated Imani Winds. He has studied at programs at the Boston Conservatory and at the Curtis Institute of Music under composers such as David Ludwig, Jonathan Bailey Holland, and Marti Epstein. He also currently serves as an intern for Orange Mountain Music, the primary record distributor for the music of Philip Glass.
When he’s not composing or practicing, Mathew enjoys exploring cities, writing stories, and spending time with friends and family.
Hector Berlioz | Symphonie fantastique, op. 14
Un bal (A Ball)
Scène aux champs (Scene in the Country)
Marche au supplice (March to the Scaffold)
Songe d'une nuit du sabbat (Dreams of a Witches' Sabbath)
Ru-Yao Van der Ploeg
Isabel Evernham ‡
Subee Kim *
Honor Hickman *
Anna Ridenour ‡
Yuhsi Chang *
Corinne Foley ‡
Robert Diaz ‡
Corinne Foley *
Xianyi Ji ‡
Soyeon Park *
Seth Goldman ‡
Carson Meritt *
Graham Lovely *
Tess Reagan ‡
Justin Park ‡
Allie Richmond *
Cody York ‡
Rebecca Bertekap *
Noah Nichilo ‡
Roger Dahlin ‡
Jason Sato *
Jordan Jenifor ‡
Hayden Silvester *
Eli Reisz ‡
Rohan Zakharia *
Doyeon Kim ‡
Nga ieng Sabrina Lai
Mark Larrivee *
Shaylen Joos ‡
Jingtong Zhang *