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About this Piece

Composed: 2008
Length: c. 7 minutes
Orchestration: 2 flutes (2nd = piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd = English horn), 2 clarinets (2nd = bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (2nd = contrabassoon), 3 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, timpani, percussion (bass drum, crotales, marimba, tam-tam, vibraphone), and strings

First Los Angeles Philharmonic performances

Invisible Overture was commissioned and premiered by the Orchestre National de Lorraine, Diego Masson conducting, at the Acanthes Festival, June 12, 2008.

Invisible Overture was originally conceived as the opening to my opera based on Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities. Calvino’s novel takes place in the court of an aged Kublai Khan, where the young Marco Polo describes the many cities he visited to the great Khan. The Overture reflects the apprehension of the old emperor about his future: in the music, sudden pangs of disquietude punctuate the sensuous texture of the work. As the Overture proceeds, the Khan is slowly completely overwhelmed by his anxiety.

However, as the composition process for Invisible Cities evolved, it became apparent to me the work did not need an overture. Thus Invisible Overture was orphaned from the opera; it has become a stand-alone work for orchestra. In turn, the title now seems more appropriate.

— Christopher Cerrone