the circle closes (2014)
"The Circle Closes" is a concert overture based on the novel The Stand by Stephen King. In this story, a horrible epidemic wipes out a vast percentage of the human population, leaving only a few immune survivors to face the evil that set these events in motion. The novel suggests that the eternal struggle of good and evil is a cyclical process in which wrongdoing slowly gains influence in the world until, through great struggle, the good must put a stop to it. Once the struggle is ended, evil regains its lowly place in the world to begin the cycle once again. The overture moves through five distinct sections: 848-AB, Containment, The Tunnel, Randall Flagg, and Firestorm. Each section relates to a different aspect, moment, or character of the novel. The opening, 848-AB, evokes the idea of a spreading virus. The following section, marked “Containment”, beginning at bar 37, then portrays the violence that erupts as the order of the world falls part. As the growing chaos reaches its climax the orchestra plunges into a sudden “darkness” during The Tunnel. A full tutti of very quiet unpitched techniques depict the journey of a lone survivor in the dark. From this darkness, the listener hears the scraping footsteps of our antagonist emerging for the first time. At bar 147 we meet Randall Flagg, an eerily charismatic and wholly evil presence. The piece then reaches its finale at measure 178 with Firestorm, the cataclysmic resolution to the novel before a final coda that returns to the beginning of the cycle.