4 - NEWS/COMMISSIONS AND PREMIERES
Picc, 4 Fl, 2 Ob, 6 Cl, Bs.Cl, 2 Bsn, Sop.Alto.Ten.Bar Sax, Double Brass Choir: 2 Tpt, 2 Hn, 2 Trb, Tba (x 2 choirs), Timp. + 4 Perc: vib, mar, bells, w. blk, tom-toms (4), crot, bd, xyl, sus cymb. (2), tam-tam, t. blks (5).
Premiere: September 18, 2008 Arizona State University Wind Bands, Gary W. Hill, conductor ASU Gammage, Tempe, AZ
Program Note: Cathedrals is a fantasy on Gabrielis Canzon Primi Toni from the Sacrae Symphoniae, which dates from 1597. Written for St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, the canzon is transcribed for two brass choirs, each comprised of two trumpets and two trombones. The choirs were stationed in balconies of the church according to the antiphonal principle of cori spezzati (broken choirs), which forms the basis of much of Gabrieli’s writing.
Cathedrals is an adventure in neo-renaissance music, in its seating arrangement, antiphonal qualities, 16th century counterpoint, and canonic textures. Its form is structured on the golden ratio (1: .618), which is com- monly found not only in nature and art, but also in the motets and masses of Renaissance composers such as Palestrina and Lassus. The areas surrounding the golden section and its series of extrapolated subdivisions have audible characteristics, often evidenced by cadences, changes in texture, or juxtaposition of ideas.
The work is a synthesis of the old and the new, evok- ing the mystery and allure of Gabrieli’s spatial music, intertwined with the rich color palette, modal harmonies, and textures of woodwinds and percussion.
New Lincolnshire Posy Resource
Volume 4 of the Wind Band Anthology: Folk Songs & Dances in Lincolnshire Posy is now available from Whirlwind Music (www.whirlwind-music.com).
Commissions and Premieres
eos William Pittd The Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony premiered eos by William Pitts, on October 20, 2008 at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts on the Emory University campus. This lovely, grade 4, five-minute work is an outstanding composition of lyrical beauty. Pitts’website is www.williampittsmusic.com.
Notes from the composer:
One of my favorite parts of my parents’house in Western Georgia is its exposure to the sunrise. Every morning, light slowly appears over the lake behind our house, yielding a progression of vibrant colors and increasing brightness that is difficult to describe. eos was actually named about halfway through my writing of the piece. As I listened to these chords and the subtle harmonic progressions, I associated these aural ideas with the visions in my head of the sunrises at home. In Greek mythology, Eos is the goddess of dawn who rises from her home at the edge of Oceanus to pave the way for her brother Helios, the sun. The piece is not necessarily programmatic, but after listening to what I had put down on paper, I could not help but feel as though the music flowed just as the dawn.
eos begins with the striking of the chime and the hum of mallet instruments establishing the key of C. The chimed notes represent time and its passing leading into the darkness of night. The clarinets then establish the chord progression that is the foundation for the rest of the work. After an extensive oboe solo, the clarinets, now accompanied by the voices of the brass players, repeat the initial chord progression.
The brass then take the piece into the key of A-flat with the horns leading the way melodically.As with the paral- lel woodwind soli in the first part of the piece, the chord progression is constantly changing its perceived tonal center, slowly moving downwards. The reentrance of the chime signals a contrasting minor section, emulating the time of night most devoid of any light. Just as the tension builds to its peak, the first hint of light breaks over the horizon with the entrance of the woodwinds. From this point until the climax of the piece, you hear the opposite effect of the previous two sections. The chord progression now gradually progresses upwards, depicting the slow increase of light. In my opinion, the most beautiful part of the morning light over my parents’ lake is the vibrant colors that emerge behind the trees. The climax of the piece depicts the surge of color. As Eos finishes her journey across the sky, the intensity of color slowly decreases as Helios takes his place to light up the day.
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