Repertoire Search

John Corigliano

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Three Hallucinations (based on the film score to “Altered States”) (1981)
G Schirmer Inc
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
13 Minutes
Buy this work
Worldwide Sales   North American Sales

Programme Note
John Corigliano Three Hallucinations (based on the film score to “Altered States”) (1981)
Three Hallucinations for Orchestra is based upon music written for Ken Russell’s film Altered States. The three pieces - Sacrifice, Hymn, Ritual – are interconnected in this score, as well as interrelated motivically and melodically. In the film, Mr. Russell devised several extended religious hallucinations, and the outer two movements of this work (Sacrifice and Ritual) are taken directly from the original film-score.

Sacrifice depicts the pagan slaying of a seven-eyed goat, superimposed against other images of death (primarily the death of the hero’s father) and sensuality. The movement begins, however, with a slow introduction setting up a trance-like state. This is interrupted by the bleating sound of oboes playing in a highly primitive manner. The motto thus introduced – an ornamented and repeated single note (C) - figures not only in the development of this movement, but as the motivic “theme” of the final movement’s dance.

Other ingredients combine with the oboe motive – specifically, an interval relationship (the tritone or flatted-fifth) ad a melodic fragment (of the hymn Rock of Ages). A final superimposition of all these ingredients culminates in a gigantic orchestral glissando which ends the movement.

The second movement, Hymn, develops and extends the previously heard fragment of Rock of Ages, fading in and out of a realistic version of the music into more hallucinatory visions. Blurred visions of choral “Amens” (plagal cadences) float like clouds around this music.

The last movement, Ritual, interrupts a series of these cadences with frenzied energy, and the momentum leads to a savage ritual dance (in the film, the Hinchi Indians’ mushroom rite). The full-orchestral forces are augmented here by two sets of four timpani each and also by an expanded percussion section, and the work ends in a burst of cumulative energy.

—John Corigliano

  • Ensemble
    Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
    Eri Klas
  • Ensemble
    Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
    Hila Plitmann, soprano
    JoAnn Falletta
THREE HALLUCINATIONS features what probably is Corigliano’s best-known music....[His] stunning film score for "Altered States" set new standards in marrying music to cinematic images, and it established the composer as a formidable artistic force...
Victor Carr Jr., CLASSICSTODAY.COM,01/01/0001
Close X

Newsletter Signup

Enter your email address to keep up to date with the latest news and special offers from Music Sales Classical.
Your data is secure and you can unsubscribe at any time. Read our Privacy Policy

Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2020 Music Sales Classical. Part of the Music Sales Group.