When word got around that the city of Norman was seeking a Municipal Anthem of sorts see, for instance, Mia Cantu’s writeup in last week’s Gazette I, of course, wondered why they didn’t just hit up John D. Loudermilk, who’d already written a tune, sort of, on the subject.
But Norman’s ambitions were higher than that, as we can see from composer Libby Larsen’s notes:
Symphony: Forward was written to celebrate the inaugural concert of the Norman Philharmonic on January 15, 2012. Commissioned by the citizens of the city of Norman, the piece is a result of the long friendship between composer Libby Larsen and Richard Zielinski, director of the newly-formed ensemble. Taking inspiration from the city of Norman flag, the music reflects the artistic energy, enthusiasm, and culture of the people of Norman. The symphony is in three movements. The musical energy of the first movement, “Boundless,” surges upward and outward, unfettered by boundaries. The second movement, “Here,” is an aria for the heart, a musical depiction of home. “Forward,” the last movement, is an American ride into the future, incorporating the Norman Anthem into a fabric of symphonic grandeur combined with fiddling, jazz, and unquestionably American rhythms.
This is approximately the place where I’m supposed to throw in a remark like: “So, chicken-fried Copland, then?” But Larsen, and Norman, deserve better than that, so I’ll have to figure out some way to hear this piece without waiting for the 2086 Moore Winter Olympics.