Transformations for String Orchestra
II. Towards Liberty
V. For Life
VI. One Out of Many
This eight-movement work for string orchestra was inspired by pioneer director Alice Guy Blaché’s 1912 silent film Making an American Citizen. Beginning as a piece for string quartet, the moods range from nostalgia to agitation to resolution. This haunting score is a groundbreaking examination of power—the egalitarian culture of a new country, the dominance of older, patriarchal values, and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. Barbara Harbach’s soundtrack enhances the eight episodes and captures the aural essence of each scene. The string orchestra is the perfect vehicle for conveying not only the nuance, but also the wide range of emotion that ranges from liquid gold to uneasy edginess. The short scenes build in intensity corresponding with Ivan’s brutality towards his wife. A rising and haunting melody in the cello introduces the score as well as several scenes; it is a motif of vulnerability and even mortality. The moods of the soundtrack range from nostalgia to folk Americana, from agitation to rage to resolution. The final scene recaps some of the earlier drama, as the audience weighs the apparent change in Ivan Orloff.