Miranda’s Waltz 2009, 26′

a symphonic adventure for narrator/actor and orchestra

music by Susan Kander
Story by May Hall Surface

Commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra

Narrator; piccolo (flute); 2 flutes (alto flutes & piccolos); 2 oboes (2nd dbl. english horn.); 2 clarinets (2nd dbl. Eb clarinet), bass clarinet; baritone saxophone (alto sax.); 2 bassoons (2nd dbl. contrabassoon); 4 horns in F; 2 trombones, bass trombone; timpani; percussion (5) (glockenspiel, marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, crotales, chime tree, tubular bells, wood blocks, temple blocks, triangle, snare drum, bass drum, tom-toms, timbales, tambourine, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, sizzle cymbal, tam-tams, balloon pop, egg shaker, ratchet, slap stick, castanets, maracas, cowbells, trap set); harp; piano (celeste); strings

Available from Subito Music

Miranda’s Theme
The Hiding Place
Mouse’s Theme
Mouse in the Park/JohnAdamsLand
Mouse at the Duck Pond/Evening
Mouse goes up on a Kite!
The Waltz/Finale

From the very beginning, my choice for Miranda’s Waltz was not to write an introduction to the instruments or even the families of the orchestra. I chose, rather, to explore the orchestra as a whole in all its flexibility and color. Also, I wanted to present The Orchestra the way I see it: as the greatest team sport I know of.  Additionally, I wanted to celebrate and introduce to young people the specific sounds and styles that America has given to the world in the last century or so. My sources and inspirations range from Charles Ives to Duke Ellington to Loony Tunes to contemporary Big Band to John Adams to American musical theater: styles of music that children (and big people) will hear throughout their lives and which are uniquely American contributions to world music. Lastly, I wanted Music – with a capital M – to be the point of the piece, not just its medium. Mary Hall Surface provided that exquisitely in her story. Miranda herself is the antithesis of that famous wolf-bagger Peter: she is small, doubtful, uninterested in the larger world when we meet her. She goes to her neighborhood park and meets something/someone that is even smaller than she is: a little brown mouse. Though this is not a talking mouse, and we never see him, he uses music to teach Miranda to open both her ears and her mind to the larger world around her. Because that’s what music does for me, every day.