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Symphony for Winds & Percussion


April 2010
Premiere of Symphony for Winds and Percussion by the Central High School, La Crosse, WI, Christopher Werner conductor

Program Note:

The Symphony for Winds and Percussion is in four movements; the first movement, From Death’s Strong Bonds, is a set of variations on a theme that is never overtly stated. This title is a play on the choral title: Christ Lay in the Strong Bonds of Death, which is the theme for the variations. The music examines what we encounter as we try to roll away the stone from the tomb and the fear that lies within us that we may not like what we find there.

The second movement takes the listener into the first of two meditative portions of the symphony. This particular section is intimate in nature and character. The title Beauty for Ashes is a reference to Isaiah 61 representing the idea that the pain in our lives can be transformed through divine exchange into something beautiful. As the piece progresses into the third movement, the climax of energy is represented by the cross rhythm of two against three. Infernal Machine is a metaphor for the human heart and has a mechanical feel of pistons hitting against each other, as does the blood in the chambers of the heart. The energy culminates into music of hope and determination The symphony makes a unified expression in the first three movements.

The fourth movement is a quite intimate response to the progression of the first three movements. Through Many Waters is a reference to Song of Solomon 8, and is the final meditative portion of the work. There is an element of grief here that leads to healing, all while knowing that sometimes you cannot keep the things you hold dear. It is about breaking open the human heart, saying goodbye, and finding closure.