Towards a Constellation

Towards a Constellation

for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band

(2010) (c.11′)

Commissioned and Dedicated to the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble

Written in Memory of A. Stone Freedberg

Wind Ensemble: 2+picc.2.2+picc+bass.2 / / 2+picc+2cor.4.3.1 / Timp.Perc(2):(2 Tom-toms, BD, Xyl, Glock, Deep BD, Tam-tam, Mar, Tub Bells) / Piano

Symphonic Band: 2+picc+section.2+section.2+picc+bass+section.2+section / / 2+picc+section.4.3+section.1+euph+section / Timp.Perc(4):(BD, Xyl, Deep BD, Mar, 2 Tom-toms, Glock, Tam-tam, Tub Bells) / Piano.Bass

Having played in both community bands a collegiate wind ensembles, I was interested in exploring in this piece a bit of the dichotomies inherent in these two separate, but vastly similar ensembles.  This is set up in the piece as a pitched battle between Bb and B (the B also frequently being accompanied by A and C).  The Bb representing the vulgar “Band” and B representing the respectable “Wind Ensemble.”  This is also played up in the short melodic snippets, or motives, that are presented in the opening section and lead up to the constellation cloud that makes up the second half.  I intended to make these motives sound as band-like as possible (and those who have played any showpieces for band know what I mean) with their simple contours based on wide open intervals and simple rhythmic profiles which should be audible through many permutations, each with a clearly discernable “tonic.”  After these two motives are presented at length, we reach the constellation.  Within expanding pedal chords articulated through fanfares reminiscent of the opening of the piece, these motives are presented within a framework of tonics rotating around a central pitch F.  Each of these tonics is itself surrounded by a cluster of notes which can themselves serve as tonics for the motives.  As we move in time through this cloud, these surrounding pitches become more tightly packed around their central tonic until the end of this section is reached where we land on multiples octaves of B in the upper registers of the ensemble and Bb in the lower registers while the F continues to be sustained between them.  This sets up a huge final resolution to F major, the B resolving up to C and the Bb down to A.

Wind Ensemble:

quarter=60 — quarter=68 — quarter=76 — quarter=102 (half=51 quasi alla breve) — quarter=114 — quarter=120 — quarter=60

The Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble conducted by Eric Hewitt

Symphonic Band:

quarter=60 — quarter=68 — quarter=76 — quarter=102 (half=51 quasi alla breve) — quarter=114 — quarter=120 — quarter=60

Matthew Marsit conducting the Charles River Wind Ensemble