Saturn Bells

Saturn Bells For violin and orchestra (2014) - 8'
-solo violin and orchestra (chamber and large orchestra versions available)
-Commissioned by Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra for their 60th Anniversary
-Premiered in Saenger Hall, Mobile, Alabama, Bella Hristova violin, Rob Seebacher, conductor


Program Listing

Saturn Bells (2014)

Program Notes

For a long time astronomers have observed spiraling shapes appearing across Saturn’s glorious icy rings; but only recently did they find out their source. The planet vibrates like a lonely bell in outer space. Those vibrations scatter across the surface of the rings making intricate, seemingly random patterns. Why Saturn rings is still not known—but on our planet earthquakes cause the world to resonate for days on end.

I was so inspired thinking of the rings of Saturn; I first saw them when I was a kid at summer camp. One of the parents brought a high power telescope and we got about half a minute each to look through it. I was so taken by those rings, and the little stars floating around the planet, which I later found out were a handful sample of its sixty-two moons.

But to come clean, I can’t help but think my unconscious mind was at work while I was writing Saturn Bells. I wrote the piece for my wife, Bella Hristova, who was at that point still my fiancée. Thoughts of Rings and Bella really couldn’t have been too far removed from the process…

Saturn Bells begins with a resonating chord that returns throughout the piece, imagining the ringing of the entire planet as a catalyst for the spiraling lines of the solo violin. The soloist takes a spin around the solar system, only to come back to massive Saturn, ringing like a cosmic cathedral bell at the climax–followed by the vast unanswered questions of space and a canopy of stars.