Now that a few weeks have passed since the end of the Fireworks contest, I'm putting up my contest entry for analysis and critique.
Even though I won 2nd place (big thanks to everyone who voted!), I'm well aware of flaws and limitations in the piece, some of which are due to time constraints during the contest, and some are just my own incompetence. At least one forum member has already pointed out to me some flaws in the string writing that I will have to fix at some point. I'd greatly appreciate it if people would point out any other problems or weaknesses they find with the piece. Thanks for listening!
For those members who were not involved in the contest, here are the original "program notes" I submitted with it:
Threnody for the Victim of a House Fire started by a Stray Firecracker
This piece commemorates the untimely death of one of the composer's high school acquaintances in a house fire believed to have been started by a stray firecracker during New Year festivities. This incident, in which several other students also died shortly thereafter and the remaining survivors sustained lifelong scars, deeply affected the composer, who developed a distaste for festivities and fireworks.
The music begins with a series of quotations of the opening theme from the Overture of Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks", in various modifications, set against a background of musical imitations of fireworks exploding into flowery patterns and streaming fiery trailers. This gradually builds up into a grandiose, but somewhat crass celebration.
At the peak of the celebration the music enters a short transition depicting a stray firecracker launching into the air and falling upon the roof of a house. Tension builds as fire breaks out and begins to spread, with Handel's theme being quoted in modified and increasingly grotesque forms, until all descends into chaos ending with a terrific crash, depicting the collapse of a roof beam thought to have killed the composer's schoolmate instantly.
An extended lamentation is then taken up in the third and final section, based on a theme built from an enigmatic sequence of notes said to be the composer's encoding of his schoolmate's name into music. The lamentation ends with the first five notes of this sequence, ostensibly an abbreviated reference to the schoolmate's name, as though in a final outcry of farewell. The piece then closes with one last quotation of the Handel theme, clouded by sombre chords in the strings that subsequently descend into the darkness and fade away.