Mason Bates’ Anthology of Fantastic Zoology (The Thunderous Finale)

Have a listen to the thunderous finale from Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates’ Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, nominated for Best Contemporary Composition at this year’s Grammys. This movement collapses the piece’s preceding 25 minutes into a hard-charging fusion of all the previous material. Bates worked to create a number of colorful, highly memorable musical ideas that could all interlock at the end. As piece goes deeper into the night and into the forest, the movements become longer and more connected (inspired by Pictures at an Exhibition). The psychology of expectation is a special element that music can handle like no other art form, and the gradually-lengthening format of this piece makes the finale seem like something of an epic bacchanal.