John Corigliano (b. 1938) is an American composer. One of his most enjoyable compositions is The Mannheim Rocket, commissioned by the Mannheim orchestra in the year 2000. It takes inspiration from the Rocket of the title – a famous compositional device invented by the orchestra in the 1700s. From there it swiftly traverses 200 years of German music, cleverly hiding quotes from some of the most famous orchestral works of the era, rising to its zenith before falling back to earth – exactly as a real rocket would.
Described by the composer as a “marvellous journey”, this orchestral piece is one of the most entertaining in the repertoire – both to play and to listen to.