symphony no. 3

Duration ca. 35'


Commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony.

Premiered by the Kansas City Symphony conducted by Michael Stern, baritone Stephen Powell, May 13-15, 2016.


Jonathan Leshnoff has struck an intelligent balance in his Symphony No. 3, the third movement of which sets excerpts of letters by American World War I combatants overseas... The epistolary settings in the Symphony’s final movement... contained such idiomatic, deftly contoured writing for voice and such poignant, transparent orchestral textures that I found myself wishing for a whole song cycle of such settings... Leshnoff’s Symphony pans over a landscape that includes tenderness, judgment, love, forgiveness and resignation. The strongly tonal beginning (Slow) called to mind the opening bars of the Verdi Requiem, perhaps, but was shot through with a sort of mesmerizing, Arvo Pärt-like mysticism. A central section introduced disharmony and a Sibelius-flavored luminescence; the big clangorous finale included two offstage anvils that sounded so “present” they seemed as if they were emanating from the earth.

—Paul Horsley, The Independent: Kansas City’s Journal of Society, June 7, 2016