Most often found in the midwest, supercells are gargantuan storms characterized by massive, swirling updrafts of wind. They are known as mesocyclones: vertical cloud formations aptly named “wall clouds” with a propensity for producing violent tornados. Supercells are the most dangerous of various thunderstorms and one of the titans of the meteorological world.
Supercell aims to recreate the experience of being caught in one of these colossal storms by utilizing the full, earth- shaking power of the orchestra to simulate (within the confines of a concert hall) the tempestuous sounds of the heavens.
Beginning with ominous rumbles of thunder on the horizon, Supercell steadily brings the danger closer to the foreground and utilizes the pure sounds of the pitched, metallic percussion instruments and E-flat clarinet bird calls to establish a soothing, “calm before the storm” atmosphere. Meanwhile, soft, swirling, chromatic woodwind passages create a windy undercurrent reminding the listener of the vicious storm to come. Then, with the sudden, bone-chilling arrival of the tornado sirens we find ourselves in the fierce heart of the supercell. From this point on, the piece aggressively thunders toward the final bar. Batten down the hatches, there’s a storm a-comin’...