A thought provoking work that attempts to express the various meanings represented by the title. The composer states that the piece is not meant to be programmatic, that through the sounds, melody and musical impressions provided in each segment the listener can choose their own definition.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 6:40
Clarinet in Bb 1
Clarinet in Bb 2
Clarinet in Bb 3
Bass Clarinet in Bb
Alto Saxophone 1
Alto Saxophone 2
Trumpet in Bb 1
Trumpet in Bb 2
Trumpet in Bb 3
Horn in F 1/2
Horn in F 3/4
Percussion 1 (slap stick, crash cymbals, snare drum, tambourine, bass drum, finger cymbals, suspended cymbal, vibraslap, triangle)
Percussion 2 (4 concert toms, guiro, tam-tam, vibraslap, claves, slap stick, woodblock, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, snare drum)
Percussion 3 (xylophone, chimes, vibraphone, bells)
The word Pandemonium, invented by 17th Century English author John Milton, first appeared in his literary work Paradise Lost. Little would Milton have known that his word creation would be used so commonly in the 21st Century. With significant events occurring in contemporary times such as 9/11, the Pacific tsunami, and hurricane Katrina, the word pandemonium has been commonly attached to the state of riotous uproar, chaos and mass confusion.
With an array of meanings, the word can be defined as: wild lawlessness, utter chaos, a place or scene of uproar or chaos, and more astringently as: the abode of all the demons or even, the capitol of hell. (Note the word ‘demon’ in the center of the word.)
Beyond these definitions, the word can be used in a more personal context and describe a state of being that occurs in our individual lives upon being presented with tragic or startling news—a feeling of confusion and uncertainly. At other times, individuals may feel pandemonium when referring to their busy and overwhelming lifestyles. In yet a different and starker perspective, some individuals believe that demons can possess our lives at times and create a state of pandemonium within one’s being.
Commissioned by the Western/Northwestern divisions of the College Band Directors National Association, Roger Cichy’s composition Pandemonium attempts to paint a wide array of meanings of the term. At times, the music may suggest catastrophic events that that have turned into pandemonium; other times the music may reflect a more subtle disposition and imply pandemonium on an individual level. Sometimes the music is intended to sound confusing and unsettling or eerie and uncertain. Moments also exist when the music sounds riotous or even martial. During one segment of the piece, Cichy has composed a sort of “march of the demons.” In another segment, Cichy refers to it as “the dance of the evil spirits.”
The interpretation of what one hears is purely up to the listener. This is not meant to be programmatic music, Cichy states. “You are given certain qualities of sound, melody and musical impressions during each segment and you must choose your own definition.”