2021 NBA Journal, Winter Edition

Page 26


Revelli Memorial Band Competition Contest Winner, cont. ‘ “Your mother used to play this song to you because you made her feel like the luckiest mom. Every time she plays it now, it will be in memory of you, her little angel in heaven.” ’ I decided I wanted to write a lullaby that would be a unifying element throughout the piece. This original lullaby is loosely based on the chord progressions in Ben’s piece, and is present throughout the work, including a comforting, triumphant and powerful setting toward the end of the piece. Finally, the entire piece is based on a three-note motif, presented at the very beginning of the work. While the three notes are used and developed throughout the piece, it is not until the last section that it becomes apparent that these notes are the first three notes of Salvation is Created, a popular and powerful choral work by Pavel Tchesnokov. This, combined with elements of the earlier lullaby and fragments of All Creatures of Our God and King, forms the basis of the last section of the piece. It is incredibly powerful, both in its fullness and its quiet vulnerability. And, as best as I can describe it, seeks to answer that difficult question – ‘What does it sound like when someone first sees the face of God?’ ” The members of the Revelli Committee have made a concerted effort in recent years to select pieces that are accessible to a large number of ensembles throughout the country. While this piece certainly requires mature players, the technical aspects are within the range of many high school musicians. Love and Light is scored for standard wind band instrumentation with slightly expanded voices in the brass – 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 24

2 euphoniums, and 2 tubas. Six percussionists are required to cover the parts, and the piano, while not particularly difficult, is crucial to the success of the piece. There are few extreme range concerns, although the first trumpet must have a solid C# and the bassoon gets to explore the upper register. Individual technical challenges include numerous rapid passages for the woodwinds in the middle section, but they are primarily chromatic and short and should fall under the fingers quickly. Also, it is imperative that the entire trumpet section be able to double tongue. There are several short solo passages throughout the work, but the largest demand lies on the shoulder of the principal oboist, who must be lyrical and mature. Love and Light was premiered on February 28, 2020 by the U. S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” under the direction of 1st Lt. Elizabeth Elliott. Initially, the premier was scheduled for April, but was moved forward two months when Lt. Elliott joyfully became pregnant and was due within a week of the concert. While Balmages could have conducted the premiere in April, he felt strongly that Elliott should have the opportunity, thus moving it to February. The timing was even more fortuitous as it happened only a few weeks before COVID-19 brought most musical activities worldwide to a halt. The initial performance can be seen on YouTube by searching “Balmages, Love and Light, US Army Band.” With Love and Light, Balmages has created a moving and emotional work that examines a deeply personal and grievous tragedy experienced by an estimated 2.6 million people

Matthew McCutchen is the Director of Bands at the University of South Florida. He is also the founder and conductor of the Bay Area Youth (BAY) Winds and the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Florida Wind Band. Dr. McCutchen earned a Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in Instrumental Conducting from Florida State University, a master’s degree in conducting from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Furman University. He is the chair of the National Band Association’s William D. Revelli Band Composition Contest, and is on the John Philip Sousa Foundation Legion of Honor Selection Committee.

annually. The members of the Revelli Composition Contest believe that ensembles that program the work will be profoundly rewarded. Balmages is currently selfpublishing this piece, and more information can be found on his website, brianbalmages.com. The NBA has decided that with the composers’ permission, each of the finalists for the NBA/William D. Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest will be named publicly as these are all pieces that are worthy of attention and performance. The 2020 finalists are: Ancestral Rumors Andrew Boss An Elegant Sufficiency Shawn Davern From Whence They Came Leslie Gilreath

And Sings the Tune Without Words Aaron Perrine Smoulder Andrea Reinkemeyer Symphony #2 James Syler

Times of the Day Julien Meisenzahl


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