The Peace Symphony

bulletComposerís Notes


bulletDedications for Sale


bulletThe Contract


bulletThe Composer's Interpretation


bulletOf Musical Theoretical Interest


bulletMusic Samples



Composerís Notes

In the middle of 2001, I had completed a short, rather contemplative piano piece very reminiscent of Schumann's "Traumeri." I was not sure what to do with the work; I could incorporate it into a larger work, or treat it as a stand-alone composition.

I immediately knew its role, when I heard there would be a memorial service the evening of "9/11" at my church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Colorado. This short piece was premiered there as one of many expressions of grief. I also knew that it would be the second of three movements of a Peace Sonata.

The three-movement piano work was premiered June 6, 2004 in Decatur, Georgia at a recital by the composer. But even before the composition was complete, it was apparent it was too "big" just for the piano. It needs to be performed by a full orchestra. But orchestrating such a work would easily take up six months' work. How is this work to be funded?

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Dedication for Sale


The bottom line: you can support this project by buying the dedication for $20,000.00, a tax-deductible contribution by way of the Atlanta Brass Society, Inc. (ABSI), a 501(c)3 arts organization that is acting as my fiscal agent for this project. You can dedicate it to a friend, a loved one, a pet, yourself, or the most ubiquitous dedicatee of them all: Anonymous. If you happen to be that "Anonymous" person, we promise not to attach any other name to you.

In return, you'll receive an autographed score of the completed work with your dedicatee included on the dedication page. Inclusion of the dedication page in the program will be a condition of the premiere performance, as well.

To purchase the dedication, please send a personal or bank check or money order made out to "Atlanta Brass Society, Inc. and Don Rechtman" and send it to the Society's mailing address at

Atlanta Brass Society, Inc.
953 Rosedale Road, N.E.
Atlanta, GA  30306

For additional information, you may call Michael Moore, the Executive Director, at 404-875-8822 or email to him at

When the check is received, ABSI and the composer will issue three copies of an unsigned contract to you. After completing and signing them, you will send two back to the above address and keep one. ABSI will then send one copy of the fully signed contract back to you. That's all there is to it!

Please feel free to contact me via email or phone if you have additional questions.

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The Contract

A detailed Contract ensures your, my, and ABSI's relationship, expectations and responsibilities. To see the full Contract, please click HERE. (NOTE: This is in PDF format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

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The Composerís Interpretation

The following is an informal summary of the nature and intention of the music:

The three movements are subtitled "Anger and Angst," "Grief and Loss," and "Hope in Action."

Anger and Angst cannot exist without parallel expressions of helplessness and shame, and they creep into the stronger emotional expressions found within this first movement. But as they are expressions of the feminine, they are quickly quelled by the initial expressions of masculine power so characteristic of humans in our less than peaceful society.

The second movement, Grief and Loss, is a soft, expressive release to the overwhelming tensions of the first movement. Even in the final strains of this three minute movement, memories begin to fade; gaps begin to appear.

The third movement, Hope in Action, later incorporates elements of the first two, but is its own creature. It does not end on a happy note per se, as it is not the true ending: we collectively are yet to complete the fourth movement. Will it end with the sadness of Tschaikovsky, or with the joy of Beethoven? I write what I hear; you tell me.

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Of Musical Theoretical Interest

Shortly after completing much of the first movement, I noticed some theoretical aspects I apparently incorporated subconsciously. Beethoven's Fifth Symphony theme consists of four notes (da da da dumm); I beat him by one note: mine consists of three! (dum da dumm) As it turns out, the prettier subordinate theme is a direct variation of those three notes.

The first movement doesn't stay in the same key or tonality for very long, but moves quite freely from one to another. Although it starts in the dominant (or thereabouts) of G minor, the coda is in C minor. I suppose that's fortunate, as the second movement is in its relative major, E-flat. As it turns out, that's probably a coincidence, as the third movement is in F-sharp minor. It too frequently shifts tonality, but not as much as the first movement.

The implicit significance of rampant tonality shifting is one of disarray: an expression of anger and angst might reasonably involve throwing things around, at least figuratively. The grief expression is very internalized and contained, and barely moves anywhere tonally. The third movement, hope in action, moves about, but with the deliberateness and calculation one would expect of powerful action.

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Music Samples

NOTE: Sound files not underlined are under construction.

I. Anger and Angst. You may click HERE to hear a MIDI rendition of the first eight minutes of the First Movement. (The complete movement is about fifteen minutes long.) You'll also find a partial analysis of the form of this movement. This is played by me, who professes, with apologies to Victor Borge, to be only a virtuososo, and you will hear mistakes if you listen hard enough. All the more reason to help support me to orchestrate it so others get to play it!

NOTE: Because it is MIDI, it will sound only as good as your computer's synthesizer or attached MIDI device. This was the most efficient and space-saving way to provide it for you; I apologize if it doesn't sound like the nine-foot grand it was written for.

What you'll hear is the introduction, the exposition, and the first part of the slow middle section. Just as one should not disclose the end of a good story, I've denied you the hearing of the really good stuff, the development (which gets fast again) and the ending. But I promise that all the themes you hear in the intro and expo do reappear and all the sub-plots finally do fall into place.

II. Grief and Loss. Click HERE to hear the complete Second Movement.

Click HEAR to here (couldn't resist!)  the beginning of the Third Movement.

You can download and print the complete piano arrangement of the Second Movement HERE. (It is in PDF format.) I give permission to anyone to perform the Second Movement royalty free, provided it is used personally or for any event that has a commitment to making Human Rights a priority over economics, and has a commitment to settling disputes by positive, mutually constructive means. Any other use of this music requires written permission from Don Rechtman, the copyright holder, and all rules governing international copyright apply.

Don "Orfeo" Rechtman

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Last modified: 05/15/16