Stolz premiered composition with Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra


Nolan Stolz introduced his piece, “Reflets/Réflexions” at the Chapman Cultural Center last week.
Photo by Samantha Brown, courtesy of Nolan Stolz

By Mary Norris
The Carolinian

Nolan Stolz premiered his composition, “Reflets/Réflexions” at the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s (SPO) final Espresso Series, “French Press”, at Chapman Cultural Center.

The commissioned work was part of a musical evening (Nov. 17) with guests enjoying complimentary dessert, wine, and beer preceding the SPO’s performance.

A delightful air filled the lobby on the chilly night as guests filled their glasses and Converse students and Chapman Cultural Center staff moved from about to keep the atmosphere alive.

The program appeared as a menu and the time stamps by each piece looked more like prices.

Composers, arrangers and performers introduced works throughout the performance, even cracking a few jokes along the way. Music by French composers such as Claude Debussy preceded Stolz’s work.

Stolz explained his composition is a reflection of Igor Stravinsky’s “Octet for Wind Instruments”. Stolz said he took the last chord of Stravinsky’s work, put it at the beginning of his, and then superimposed the theme over the chord.

“Many, many measures of music come out of this single chord,” Stolz said.

Two trombones, trumpets and bassoons, a clarinet, and a flute played that C chord staccato multiple times in the beginning. Melodies were traded between instruments throughout. Meter changes and an active bass line from the bassoon kept the audience intrigued, especially as different instruments imitated the bassoon.

The evening closed with a performance of Stravinsky’s “Octet,” an aha moment for those actively listening to Stolz’s work.