Fine used the twelve-tone technique to create this most substantial work of his career. A chromatic vocabulary, punctuated with thick chords and an expanded percussion section, replaces the simple, classically influenced language of his earlier works, but his characteristic lyricism and elegance remain. While his neoclassic works exhibit straightforward structures, the Symphony 1962 takes a more spontaneous form. Fine described the first movement as "a kind of choreographic action in which characters enter, depart, and reappear altered and in different groupings" while a "lyrical or . . . pastoral narrative" provides the background. The second movement is an episodic scherzo, and the final movement, a fantasia-like "Ode" transform themes from earlier movements. He recalled, "I was applying the finishing touches to the orchestration on February 20, 1962, nervously watching the television set out of the corner of one eye when the news of Colonel Glenn's return from outer space was announced." Similarly, Aaron Copland wrote that Fine's symphony "demonstrates a reaching out toward new and more adventurous experiences." Unfortunately Fine's explorations were cut short by his untimely death in August, 1962.
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to Boosey & Hawkes/Jennifer DeLapp.