for three solo clarinets and band

by J.S. Bach, Arranged by Richard Summers (Grade 4.5/5, 6:30)
The Allegro for three solo clarinets and band is the first movement of one of Bach’s most famous works, the Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. Originally written for two recorders, solo violin, and strings, this arrangement was written for the Ridgewood Concert Band’s Summer 2010 European tour under the direction of Dr. C. Christian Wilhjelm and soloists Richard Summers, Janet Vidovich, and Stephen Summers. There are many clarinet solos and duos arranged with band accompaniment, but no arrangements could be found for three clarinet soloists and band. The original setting was always a favorite of mine and was a joy to arrange. The three clarinet soloists equally share all of the original solo parts, blending the virtuosic violin solos with the melody and the harmony of the recorders. It is challenging but rewarding for the soloists and very playable for the band.

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 5, 7:45)
Always We Begin Again was commissioned by the Sigma Chapter of the Kappa Kappa Psi Fraternity at Ohio Northern University. The piece is a tribute to the memory of two individuals, Edwin and Rosemary Z. Williams, who left an indelible imprint on the ONU music department and of all of their colleagues, students and friends there.

In speaking and corresponding with the people who knew them, who learned from their teaching, who enjoyed their warm friendship and who shared their love of music, it became clear to me that Ed and Rosie were extraordinary people whose lives were part of the fabric of the lives of so many others. One of Rosie’s poems, written after Ed’s passing, explores this very concept and serves as the inspiration for the composition’s two main sections:

Lives intertwine in the most beautiful pattern
and even after out individual thread stops,
what we’ve woven up to that point
remains locked into a tight weave,
with all the others we woven our life with, through, and around,
forever a part of a cloak of beautiful memories
that lives to warm us on the cold days [and] nights of sorrow.

The title, Always We Begin Again, is a line from the Rule of Saint Benedict from which Rosie drew strength and hope during her illness. It implies an ongoing transformation, a continual weaving of our own individual thread during our life’s journey. As for the music, I imagined the initially slow process of threads intertwining in different patterns, as suggested in the first line of Rosie’s poem. As these threads coalesce, they retain their individuality but are animated and strengthened by all of the threads around them. The weave becomes tighter, stronger, more colorful, vibrant and joyous. One of these threads is the opening to Rosie’s Marche Brilliante which serves as the central focus of the latter part of the composition.

As a composer, there is no more difficult job for me than to write a memorial commission. I never had the privilege of knowing Ed and Rosie personally, yet I feel as though they were as much a part of this process as I was. It is my sincere hope that this work is a fitting tribute to them on behalf of all of the people who loved them so well.

Patrick J. Burns

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 4.5/5, 4:00)
I loved well those cities… for narrator and band, was commissioned by The Goldman Memorial Band, Dr. C. Christian Wilhjelm, Director, and is based on excerpts of Walt Whitman’s poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. Originally written in 1856 (revised 1881) the poem is at once a reflective and sensuous work, full of Whitman’s detailed impressions of the landscape of Manhattan and Brooklyn as seen from a ferry boat on the East River. Whitman offers his intensely personal observations to people not yet born, to generations “a hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence”, of the beauty of his New York. Whitman informs us that the joys we receive from our senses in observing a sunrise, or being part of a crowd, or watching ships sailing on a river were the same joys experienced by him ages ago. The poem is a fascinating tribute to cities everywhere and to the timelessness of the human spirit.

by Anthony O’Toole (Grade 5, 10:45)
Now Is The Time (A Song of Hope) was written in the Fall of 2013 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, given on August 28, 1963 in Washington, D. C. The piece was written as a tribute to Dr. King’s life and work, as well as the many other civil rights activists who fought so courageously for equality and an end to racial injustice in the 1950’s and 1960’s. More broadly, it is a musical portrayal of the pursuit of freedom and equality that many in our country still dream of.

by Anthony O’Toole (Grade 5, 3:00)
This vibrant and energetic concert opener was written for Dr. Jack Stamp and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Wind Ensemble, in commemoration of Dr. Stamp’s retirement after 25 years of service to IUP. It has all of the incessant energy and rhythmic intrigue which have become hallmark’s of O’Toole’s writing, and it’s sure to keep your band and audience on the edge of their seats.

by Jeremy S. Martin (Grade 5, 12:45)
FIRST SUITE FOR BAND was commissioned by the Tennessee Tech University Band Alumni Association to commemorate Professor Joseph W. Hermann’s 20th year as Director of Bands at TTU. Musically, the composition itself was created as a celebration of the collegiate experience. As an undergraduate at Tennessee Technological University, I took great pride in learning about the school and its history. While contemplating this work, I visited the campus in Cookeville, TN for the first time in nearly ten years. The smell of the maple trees, the sight of the purple & gold flowers, and the sounds of the Derryberry Hall clock tower immediately took me back to the excitement of the campus environment. While my time as a student at Tennessee Tech is an experience I will always cherish, my fondness for my own alma mater is a type of affection shared by most anyone who has endured the trials of higher education. As students we cheer for our team, wear our school’s colors, and live our lives around campus events; years later as alumni we recall those experiences with overwhelming nostalgia. It is this devotion – and those experiences – to which this work is dedicated.

Movement I: March
The suite begins with a traditional march as a tribute to the military-related background shared by a large number of our nation’s universities. Many of these institutions were founded in the 1800s (or even earlier) as military preparatory academies. While most of them no longer have any direct military affiliation, the march is a nod to this common foundation.

It must also be noted that as a young clarinetist, Joseph Hermann played principal clarinet in Karl King’s band in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and is a fervent supporter of the rich heritage of marches found in our wind band repertoire. No work dedicated to Joe would be complete without a march!
Finally, the euphonium solo at the trio is a nod to the TTU Tuba Studio, and may be played either as a solo or – for the more daring! – as a euphonium section soli.

Movement II: Tradition
The second movement represents the pride shown by collegiate students as they gather after graduation so sing their alma mater, or by alumni who reunite to share fond memories. As a dedication to Professor Hermann, this second movement is a setting of two alma maters that are unique to their respective schools: the “Tennessee Tech Hymn,” and “The Drake Hymn” from Drake University (Hermann’s own alma mater).

Movement III: Homecoming
The third movement is designed to capture the sights, sounds and excitement of Homecoming Day – mainly the action and excitement of the homecoming football game. Most notably there is a “kickoff” at measure 28, a “punt” at measure 71, and lots of up-and-down motion that (like a close game) switches frequently from heroic to nail-biting; in this movement the listener should feel free to interpret these dramatic moments with their own imagination. Throughout the movement, melodic fragments of both the Tennessee Tech and Drake University fight songs are used, and extensive percussion provides a hint of marching band to the overall atmosphere.

Jeremy S. Martin

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 5, 8:00)
The great majority of compositions for symphonic band can be described as “program music”, that is, music which tells a story or relates to the listener a particular concept or idea. In most cases, the composer uses this story or idea as a jumping off point for writing the music and hopes the listener will make the connection between the original material which inspired the composition and the music itself. Soundtrack operates from a different perspective: the listener creates the program for the music.

Soundtrack was, as you might guess, inspired by the cinema. I’ve provided all the music, all the drama, all the twists and turns and multi-faceted characters of an unknown, unspecified plot. Now you, the listener, must create your own plot, follow your own storyline through the piece, craft your own imagery to the music, and ultimately draw your own conclusion about what the music actually illustrates. As I was writing Soundtrack, I deliberately avoided the temptation of assigning specific meaning to any particular musical idea. There are no correct or incorrect conclusions to be made on your part – anything goes. So sit back, take a few deep breaths and get your imaginations in gear. My work is complete. Yours begins now!

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 5, 8:00)
The composer writes, “Spirit Unseen is a piece which I believe will have a different meaning to each person who hears it. The title refers to that presence which guides our lives and gives each of them a unique meaning and purpose. However, meaning and purpose are available only to those who follow that inner voice. Sometimes faint and nebulous and other times clearly defined and insistent, the fruits of this spirit unseen are available to each of us if only we choose to listen and follow.”

by Drew Fennell (Grade 5, 10:34)
Yosemite Portrait: El Capitan, commissioned in 2007 by the Wantagh Bandwagon Association and dedicated to the Wantagh High School Wind Ensemble, Wantagh, New York, Mindy Dragovich, Director, was inspired by the 3,000 foot rock formation, El Capitan, which overlooks the scenic Yosemite Valley in California (USA). The piece portrays the massive cliff as “Master of Yosemite,” with powerful music that is alternately fearsome and beautiful, grounded and soaring brilliant and shadowy.