In the Forests of the Night an Overture for Chamber Orchestra

2009 | Commissioned by the Boston Classical Orchestra | 8 minutes 30 seconds
2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and strings

Contact for score and parts.

An arching string of nocturnes, foreboding to frightening to gently mysterious: rustling strings, keening fragments of melody. Harmonies are tonal, but used more as a coloristic resource than a structural scaffold…Lipsitt and the orchestra gave the piece a rich debut.
— Matthew Guerrieri, The Boston Globe

The piece flows seamlessly, breathing in long phrases while harmonies shift rapidly and constantly underneath expressive melodies. In The Forests of the Night was accessible and familiar, yet filled with emotional tension and dramatic complexity. It was a good choice for BCO to commission Frazin to write a piece for its 30th season; Frazin’s music is pensive and original, while still within the immediate grasp of classical musicians and audiences.
— Peter Van Zandt Lane, The Boston Musical Intelligencer




Program Note

In the Forests of the Night was commissioned by and written for Steven Lipsitt and the Boston Classical Orchestra to commemorate their 30th anniversary season. I thank the BCO for this honor and opportunity. I would also like to thank many generous individual supporters who have made this commission possible. Lastly, thank you to my dear friend, cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer, whose thoughtful advice encouraged several important orchestrational insights.

In this day and age it isn’t often that composers write for orchestra, the most public of ensembles. I believe it is a profound responsibility to do so (just as it was in Mendelssohn’s and Schumann’s time)—a precious, and increasingly rare, opportunity to create communal moments for social and personal reflection.

The music of In the Forests of the Night is an elaboration and expansion on musical materials and ideas I first developed in a setting of William Blake’s The Tyger written in 2008. With that song I try to consider, as Blake’s words do, the emotional difficulty of understanding a world where there exists both good and evil. And, of course, talk about good and evil, more often than not, is about feeling vulnerable to evil and the complex emotions that such vulnerability evokes. With this orchestral overture I attempt to further reflect upon and to articulate an emotional argument considering this very human problem.

— Howard Frazin (2009)

Past Performances

Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston

First Baptist Church
Newton, MA
April 8, 2017

David Angus, conductor

Wellesley Symphony Orchestra

MassBay Community College
Wellesley, MA
May 13, 2012

Max Hobart, conductor

Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra

Kennedy Middle School
Waltham, MA
March 24, 2012

Michael Korn, conductor

Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra

Mendel Center Mainstage
Benton Harbor, MI
April 19, 2011

Robin Fountain, director

Rivers School Symphony Orchestra

Christ Church
Needham, MA
November 14, 2010

David Tierney, conductor

Hockomock Chamber Orchestra

First Congregational Church
Sharon, MA
May 4, 2010

Michael Korn, conductor

Rivers School Conservatory 32nd Seminar on Contemporary Music

Bradley Hall
April 10, 2010

Rivers School Conservatory Upper School Orchestra
Dan Shaud, conductor

The Boston Classical Orchestra (Premiere)

Faneuil Hall, Boston
October 24 and 25, 2009

Steven Lipsitt, conductor