Australian Wind Symphony
Lest We Forget
7:30pm, Saturday 11 November 2023, Warriors Chapel, St Andrews Church
Brian Balmages (1975– )
Composed in 2021
The composer’s own program note says:
‘Centennium is a musical celebration commissioned to honour 100 years of band at Boston University. Written during the middle of a worldwide pandemic, the piece also reflects my personal victory as a composer.
I believe I needed this particular commission to help me get through the difficulties of being a musician during a time of social distancing and a lack of live music.
Writing the notes on these pages renewed my excitement for dynamic music making, regardless of whether we were all in the same room; and this challenge became a metaphor for the past 100 years of bands at Boston University.
Whether someone was a member of a Boston University ensemble decades ago or part of the world premier performance of this piece, everyone comes from a long legacy of musicians and passionate artists who are all connected.
It is in that spirit of celebration and unity that I offer the heroic, sweeping melodies and vibrant rhythmic pulse of Centennium.
Many thanks to Michael J Barsano for spearheading the commission and to Jennifer Bill for her feedback throughout the process.’
Heroic, sweeping melodies form the basis of this celebratory work. The constant rhythmic drive is augmented by soaring and often exhilarating countermelodies. Several peaks and valleys culminate in a powerful final fanfare that brings the work to a thrilling conclusion.
Since 2000, US composer Brian Balmages has written extensively for wind ensembles. His works for wind symphony, orchestra and brass have been performed throughout the world. He is also a conductor and has performed widely. Currently, he is the Director of Instrumental Publications for the FJH Music Company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. At our last performance, we played his beautiful 2020 work, Love and Light.
Let the Amen sound
Travis J Cross (1977– )
Composed in 2012
Commissioned by Northshore Concert Band conducted by Mallory Thompson
Based on the 17th-century chorale Lobe den Herren, known in English as Praise to the Lord, the hymn tune is stated first by a solo flute accompanied by percussion and muted trumpets, evoking the sound of liturgical bells. Three variations follow that that represent important milestones common to human existence – the playful exuberance of childhood, the sentimental dance of youth, and the triumphant celebration of lives well lived.
South Korean-born American composer and conductor Dr Travis J Cross is associate professor of music and department chair in the Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he conducts the wind ensemble and symphonic band, and directs the graduate program in wind conducting.
As wind ensemble conductor for five years at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, Cross led students in performances at the Virginia Music Educators Association conference, Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall and developed the Virginia Tech Band Directors Institute into a major summer conducting workshop.
Samuel R Hazo (1966– )
Composed in 2005
Resonant chimes and sonorous chorales create the soundscape of this sombre but inspiring work. While it was written to memorialise a band director’s passing, it celebrates the legacy that all teachers leave for their students.
As Hazo writes in the score’s preface, ‘The more we give of ourselves, the more our lives resound.’
Samuel R. Hazo received his Bachelor and Master degrees from Duquesne University and has taught music at every educational grade level from kindergarten through college. He has been awarded Teacher of Distinction twice by the Pennsylvania Teacher’s Excellence Foundation. Since he turned 30, when he started composing, he has written original scores for television, radio and the stage, as well as numerous works for wind symphony. Two of his compositions were performed at the London Olympics in 2012.
In 2003, Hazo became the first composer in history to be awarded the winner of both composition contests sponsored by the National Band Association.
He has composed for professional, university and school levels, in addition to writing original scores for television, radio and the stage.
The stillness of remembering: a dedication
Movement 1 from ‘Everything beautiful’
Samuel R Hazo (1966– )
Composed in 2014
Optimism and introspection share the stage in Samuel R Hazo’s The Stillness of Remembering, bringing with it both the joy and the pain of celebrating the life of a departed friend of the composer, renowned US conductor and music educator Charles (Chuck) Campbell Jr.
Teresa J Elliott who commissioned the work said, ‘Charles … was respected nationally as a music educator, conductor and mentor to young music teachers. He passed away on July 30, 2011, after a four-month valiant battle with pancreatic cancer … He was my teacher, my mentor, my colleague and friend for 42 years. The idea for this commission actually came to me on the morning I received the phone call letting me know of Mr C’s passing … That morning of July 30, 2011, I had ventured into one of the most beautiful and serene areas of the Great Smoky Mountains that I had ever experienced … the sun glistening through the treetops and the sound of the rushing water beside the trail were eerily soothing … as if he was whispering to me … “Don’t worry … I’m OK.” It was one of the most painful, but uplifting times in my entire life … I decided the best way to honor Mr C was to have one of his best friends and colleagues compose a piece of music that would forever be a fitting tribute to [his] life .. I knew I wanted Sam Hazo to write it, and I knew it had to be an incredibly moving, inspiring, emotional and musical work.’
Speaking about the premiere performance of the work, the composer said, ‘Great music played well starts on the inside and comes out and hits the audience on the inside before it ever hits their ears.’
In his program notes for the premiere, Sam said, ‘What I can’t say in these words, I hope I have said, more poignantly, in my music.’
We are only playing the first movement here, and this is what Sam said about it: ‘I distinctly remember learning of Chuck’s passing in an email … The grief was great enough that I immediately went to my piano and began to play. The notes matched my feelings so perfectly that I sketched out exactly what I played, never knowing I’d be asked to compose Chuck’s requiem. There are few textures that express pain and joy simultaneously, holding that balance between the optimism of open voicing and the introspection of subtle note clusters. My fingers just happened to land in the perfect places. Months later, I was able to find my sketch and, beginning to end, it is the first movement. I am convinced Chuck was with me.’
The title is taken from a line in a song called ‘Dreams’ by Stevie Nicks in 1976.
David R Holsinger (1945– )
Composed in 2018
Soliloquy is a quiet and reflective work dedicated to the memory of a well-loved young musician, struck down by sudden illness. Woven within original music is the hymn tune ‘Fairest Lord Jesus’, also known as ‘Beautiful Savior’. It is a compelling and moving work of exceptional warmth and emotion.
The composer’s own program note says:
‘The death of someone so young diminishes us all, and touches everyone more deeply when that young person demonstrates wisdom and caring beyond her 14 years. Stricken prior to spring break with what appeared as flu symptoms, her illness advanced quickly and a few hours after a diagnosis of lymphoma, Alivea Cox passed away [4 June 2018].
Her band director wrote, “This has completely devastated our community. It is a tight knit city, and Alivea was one of those people you never forget. … She attended every rehearsal, every concert, and loved everything about the French Horn. In addition, she started the prayer club at our school, and when she was not busy with other events, she would help her parents and older sister take care of their two other sisters with Down syndrome, whom her parents adopted from orphanages in Ukraine after they had been abandoned. Her dream was to collect books to send to the orphanages who did not have anything, and our community is working on making that come true.”
A support group on Facebook collected 13,000 children’s books in a few short weeks.
Once Alivea wrote a note to one of her music teachers who was going through a rough patch, “Not only have I learned a TON about music from your class, but I learned a ton of life lessons as well. I’ve learned how to better manage my time, be more patient with myself and others, and that I will always have bad days and they don’t define me as a musician or as a person.”
I am humbled that I was asked to honor this young lady with music. There is no doubt in my mind, that as she drew her last breath, Alivea awakened in the Company of Angels.’
David R Holsinger is an award-winning American composer and conductor, arranger and educator working in numerous US universities. He was music minister and composer-in-residence at a church in Texas for 15 years. Then in 1999, he moved to Lee University in Tennessee where he conducts the Wind Symphony and teaches instrumental conducting and composition.
He has been visiting composer-in-residence at numerous American universities since.
We have previously played his award-winning composition In the Spring when the Kings go off to War.
For the fallen
Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)
Written in 1914
British poet Laurence Binyon was described as having a ‘sober’ response to the outbreak of the First World War, despite many who were euphoric.
His elegy ‘For the fallen’ was written to honour the casualties of the British Expeditionary Force after their retreat from defeat at the Battle of Mons in France. The poem was published in The Times on 21 September 1914, just seven weeks after the beginning of the war.
It has been used in commemoration services in Australia since 1921. The fourth stanza is now recognised internationally as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of state, and is called the ‘Ode of Remembrance’:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
It is fitting that it is quoted on the walls of St Andrews’ Warriors Chapel.
William H Monk (1823–1889)
Composed in 1861
arranged in 2005 by Jay Dawson
Composer William Monk was an English organist, church musician and music editor who composed popular hymn tunes, including this one, his most famous, ‘Eventide’. It became known as the hymn ‘Abide with me’. In 1847, Monk became the choirmaster at Kings College London.
The arranger of the version you hear tonight is Jay Dawson from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. His teaching experience includes public high schools and college level. For ten years he was a French hornist in the Nashville Symphony Orchestra before becoming assistant conductor in 1977 for three years, as well as conductor of the Nashville Youth Symphony. He is widely known as an arranger of works for wind bands and wind symphony and is president of the Arrangers Publishing Company. He is founder and conductor of the Tennessee Winds, a professional concert band.
The words of the hymn ‘Abide with me’ were written by Scottish clergyman Henry Francis Lyte (1793–1847) in 1847, while he was dying of tuberculosis (and he died three weeks after completing it).
It is most often sung to the tune ‘Eventide’ which was written in 1861, and appeared that year in Monk’s mammoth work Hymns ancient and modern, a collection of 273 hymns which, over 5 further editions and supplements published up until 1916, became one of the most best-selling hymn books ever produced. As the musical editor for the first edition, Monk wrote several original hymn tunes.
This beautiful moving arrangement by Jay Dawson that you hear tonight masterfully incorporates ‘The last post’ played on solo trumpet from the Warrior’s Chapel.
‘The last post’ is a bugle call that dates from the 16th century and is primarily used by British and Australian infantry regiments. It is used at Commonwealth military funerals and to remember those who have been killed in war. On Anzac Day, it normally precedes silence to commemorate the fallen.
As Canberra Wind Symphony we played this arrangement each year on Remembrance Day and our 2015 YouTube clip of it had 71,000 views. The full version from 2019 has over 19,000 views on the Australian Wind Symphony YouTube channel, with the trumpet solo played by Louisa Walton who is playing it again tonight. Our recording of this work is included in an exhibition at the Peabody-Essex museum in Salem, Massachusetts, USA.
Irene de Villiers said of our performance, ‘This hymn never fails to bring me to tears.’
Tonight is our ninth Remembrance observation.
La cathédrale résiliente
An American composer’s response to the devastating 17 April 2019 fire that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral
Mark Camphouse (1954– )
Composed in 2019
Commissioned by HAFABRA Music and dedicated to Louis Martinus
This powerful and thought-provoking work was written in response to the devasting fire that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral on 17 April 2019.
An intricate harmonic language weaves through complex textures. Hints of early music resonate within the structure. Daring melodic lines dart through the space.
And listen for a brief quote from La Marseillaise as the music moves from sorrow to hope in this stunning musical tribute.
American composer, conductor and trumpeter Mark Camphouse began composing at an early age. The Colorado Philharmonic premiered his First Symphony when he was 17.
His 25 published works for wind band have received widespread critical acclaim and are performed widely in the US and abroad. Camphouse has served as a guest conductor, lecturer and clinician in 42 states, Canada and Europe.
Camphouse was Professor and Associate Director of the School of Music at George Mason University where he conducted the wind symphony and taught courses in conducting and composition. He retired in 2022.
We hope you are moved by our performance this evening.
Lest we forget.
Program notes by David Whitbread
|Conductor||Dr Geoff Grey CSM|
|Bass Clarinet||Caroline Christenson|
|Dr Rebecca Rivera|
|Alto Saxophone||Stephen Hally-Burton|
|French Horns||Nicole Lehmann|
|Dr Iain Hercus|
|Trumpets||Dr Mike Purcell|
|Dr Peter Mews|
|Double Bass||Elizabeth Charlton|
|Liam Van der Vyver|
|Piano||Jeff Cocks OAM|