The Vampire Chronicles (Orchestra)

The Vampire Chronicles (1995) Four Movements. ca. 24’
Orchestra. (See below for specific instrumentation.)

Received performance prize of premiere by the University of Minnesota Orchestra, Keith Clark, director.

Listen to excerpts from the premiere:

Movement I:


Movement II:

Movement III, opening:

Movement IV, middle:

Program Note:

The Vampire Chronicles (1995)
I. Interview: Allegro frenetico; Adagio; Allegro Moderato
II. Predator: Allegro; Tranquillo; Moderato; Agitato; Hymn-like; Allegro
III. Bloodlines: Adagio con moto
IV. Theft: Presto; Furioso; Feroce; Tranquillo; Furioso

The Vampire Chronicles for piano and orchestra was written in 1994-95 as my thesis piece at the University of Minnesota. Inspired by the first four novels in a series by Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, and The Tale of the Body Thief), it is roughly 24 minutes long, in four movements. A quasi-mini-opera without words, I attempted to reduce the novels to their dramatic essence, and find musical analogues for the drama — to have the music represent my reading of the narrative trajectories and interactions of the prinicpal characters in the novels, providing each character with their own harmonic or instrumental color and melodic/motivic profiles. These novels seemed inherently musical to me. Indeed, a violinist is an important character in the second novel, and the main protagonist/antogonist (he’s a little of both) poses as a rock star in The Queen of the Damned. Anne Rice’s vampires are colorful, powerful creations, but the forces that drive them raise issues that concern us all: the after-life, temptation, our history, our sexuality, and societal progress, among others. It is my hope however, that one need not be acquainted with the novels in order to appreciate the piece.

Specific Instrumentation:
2 Flutes (II doubles on Piccolo, Alto Flute)
2 Oboes (II doubles on English Horn)
2 Bb Clarinets (II doubles on Bass Clarinet)
2 Bassoons (II doubles on Contrabassoon)

4 French Horns in F
2 Bb Trumpets
2 Tenor Trombones
1 Bass Trombone

4 Percussion: Xylophone, Glockenspiel, Bass Drum, Snare Drum,
Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Tambourine, Hi-Hat,
Chimes, Shaker, Triangle, 2 Congas, Claves, Steel Drum
3 Tom-Toms, Crash Cymbal, Vibraphone, Marimba,

1 Harp
1 Piano (doubles on Celesta)

Violin I
Violin II

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Quick Bio

CBG2_WPRKOriginally from New York, Charles Griffin returned to the U.S. in 2010 to take a position at Florida's Full Sail University as course director of Advanced Music Composition in their MPBS program, after spending 5 years living and working in Latvia. His compositions and arrangements have been performed at festivals and concert halls throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Brazil, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

He is also a radio show host on 91.5 WPRK FM. His show Zero Crossings incorporates live interviews with composers, conductors and performers with a focus on the local contemporary art music scene.

Read more in the biography section.