Sparkler is the opening piece for Toy Symphony concerts composed by Tod Machover. A simple, sinuous melody weaves throughout the piece, beginning and ending in calmness, but rapidly and delicately undulating along the way. This melody varies continuously�pulling in its wake tiny fragments of remembered classical and popular tunes; expanding into more and more intricate textures; and finally being subsumed in a series of dense sonic masses at the work�s culminating moment. Sparkler explores many different relationships between orchestra and technology. Three keyboards�each with a specially designed controller for shaping timbre and articulation�play and modulate much of the electronics. Unlike many previous works where only solo instruments are amplified or electronically processed, here microphones capture the entire orchestral sound, which is analyzed live into �perceptual parameters� through software written by Tristan Jehan. These instrumental sound masses�which are performed with a certain freedom by players and conductor�generate and control (pushing, pulling, twisting, and morphing) complex electronic extensions, turning the whole ensemble into a kind of �hyperorchestra.� Sparkler reflects the energy, innocence, imagination, vulnerability, and rapid passing of childhood.