Blue Liberty – Steve Heitzeg

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Product Type: Digital Download

Format: Full Score

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Composer: Steve Heitzeg

Instrumentation: 3-3-3-3/4-3-3-1/timp, 4 perc, hp/str

Duration: Approx. 5 minutes

Date Written: 2002

Commissioned by: Minnesota Orchestra and the City of Plymouth by the Plymouth Civic League with funding from the Builder's Consortium in honor of the dedication of the Hilde Performance Center at the 30th anniversary of Music in Plymouth 2002

Premiered by: Minnesota Orchestra; Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor, Hilde Performance Center, Plymouth, MN on 07/01/2002

Additional Information:

As I reflect on 15 years of performances of Blue Liberty, I am most grateful to Barbara Willis and Music in Plymouth for commissioning the piece and to the Minnesota Orchestra and its remarkable conductors and musicians for their excellent performances throughout the years.

In many ways, Blue Liberty has become for me a marker of coming and going,
of liberty’s fragile promise and potential loss. I composed Blue Liberty in the spring after 9/11 and before our daughter Zadie was born in 2005. It has been performed during the terms of two U.S. Presidents—G.W. Bush and Barack Obama. It has been performed too after the loss of my mom, my mother-in-law and our Weimaraner, Heddy. For some in the audience, Blue Liberty has become part of the July 4th tradition or for others simply a backdrop to the ongoing celebration. Either way, here are a few additional thoughts of mine about the piece.

With Blue Liberty, I aspired to compose a lyrical piece that would address the true multidimensional spirit of liberty—both patriotic (expressing love of country) as well as matriotic (expressing love for the world) in its sonic representation. I chose to pair the word blue with liberty in honor of water—the blue lakes in Plymouth and Minnesota and the oceans. It honors too the greenish blue hue of the Statue of Liberty. There are different hues of blue evoked in the piece—the opening and optimistic sky blue-like chords, the celebratory dance sections, the dusky blue elegy with solo trumpet, and the brilliantly bright chords [chords that I composed as I imagined what immigrants must feel upon seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time] that close the piece.

Blue Liberty is ultimately a sonic metaphor in honor and celebration of the richly diverse cultures, people, and places that make the notion of liberty even possible in America and the world. It is a beautiful vision that must be nourished and renewed, with “a mighty woman with a torch”* passing it to each new generation.

*from the poem The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, which is graven on a tablet within the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands. —Steve Heitzeg February 4, 2017 Minneapolis-Saint Paul

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