A fantasia on the hymn 'Beautiful Savior,' Light of My Soul goes through a flurry of emotion. Featuring all sections of the ensemble, this emotional piece ranges from expressive to urgent to joyous. Gillingham effectively engages the listener and performer alike.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 3 | Duration: 7:35
Bb Clarinet 1
Bb Clarinet 2
Bb Clarinet 3
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Bb Trumpet 1
Bb Trumpet 2
Bb Trumpet 3
Percussion 1 (bells, crotales)
Percussion 2 (vibraphone, temple blocks, crotales)
Percussion 3 (suspended cymbal, hi-hat, tom-toms, triangle)
Light of My Soul was commissioned by The Gustavus Adolphus College Wind Orchestra, Douglas, Nimmo, conductor, for the occasion of their 2006 European Tour.
The work is a fantasia on the hymn 'Beautiful Savior.' It begins slowly in Eb Major with quiet murmurs in the flutes and 1st clarinets underlying brass playing with motivic material taken from the first two bars of the hymn. This leads to a statement divided between the flutes and the clarinets of the 5th and 6th bars of the hymn serving as a bridge to Bb Major where the horns sing a new and expressive melody. This melody is a harmonic "partner" to Beautiful Savior, and will eventually combine with the hymn. Trumpets are added for the final phrases of the new melody followed by a full band transition, based on the opening motive of Beautiful Savior, accelerating to a new section in D Major. The new section is characterized by a sense of urgency and features fugal counterpoint on a subject derived from the first phrases of the hymn tune. Ensuing is a section featuring timpani, crotales, temple blocks and tom-toms under motives from the first phrase of the hymn heard in various harmonic guises. The intensity grows, accelerates and modulates to E Major where the piccolo and piano play a spirited counterline accompanying Beautiful Savior played by saxophone quartet. A full band transition slows down the motion, diminishes in volume and modulates to Db Major where both the Beautiful Savior tune and the new melody are harmoniously combined, with oboe singing the new melody and the horns on the hymn tune. The new melody and the hymn tune progress to a joyous and dramatic conclusion on the last phrase and then fade into a benediction begun by the flutes playing motives from the 5th bar of the hymn tune. The work ends peacefully in Db Major with bells and vibraphone echoing the earlier flute motives.
- David R. Gillingham