The Growing Season opens introspectively with a long, wistful line in the high register of the violin, accompanied in the lower strings by lush, acrid harmonies, like the sun on a steamy patch of dew-soaked earth. Out of this, a fiercely rhythmic secondary theme emerges, highly dramatic and contrapuntal in character, with wide variations in dynamics and lines marked by jutting rhythms that fence gleefully with one another. These two themes intertwine and grow until, finally, the first theme returns for a spare and philosophic conclusion. The title is taken from a poem by my friend and sometime collaborator, Carol Lynn Pearson.
The Growing Season was composed in 1987 and premiered on February 10, 1991 at the Leo S. Bing Theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California by the Pacific Composers Forum Chamber Players with Mark Watters conducting. The performance was broadcast live over KUSC-FM, Los Angeles. The string orchestra arrangement of The Growing Season was recorded in August 1998 by the Central Opera Orchestra in Beijing under the direction of Eric Reiff through the Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina.