As Glaciers Thaw…
for String Orchestra
Tokyo Symphony Orchestra; Naoto Otomo, Conductor
Commissioned by the Iolani Concert Orchestra and premiered in Honolulu in December 1999.
“As Glaciers Thaw…” opens with the icy coldness of a glacier – majestic, pure, indifferent – holding within it eons of frozen time, eternity crystallized. As the first rays of the spring sun rise above the horizon, we sense a stirring within. Gradually the light, reflected through the ice as through a prism, brings with it heat – melting the surface of the glacier.
As the ice warms, tiny rivulets form, growing with the heat into streams, rivers, torrents. Mammoth chunks of ice break free, transported on the flowing currents, floating on cascades of newly freed rivers, millions of years old. The summer sunlight, in its reflected brilliance, sparkles and shimmers, burning our eyes with the intensity of a magnifying glass. Passing clouds bring only momentary relief, cooling briefly with their fleeting shadows.
The winter returns, night falls. The flowing water slows, freezes, stops. Darkness descends and iciness returns, trapping within it the brilliance of a season past, frozen – preserved for eternity in memory and ice.