Another major contribution to advanced band repertoire. Epic in proportion, Gillingham's Symphony No. 2 displays the creative scoring and brilliant compositional technique we have associated with this esteemed composer. Upper-level musicians and conductors will enjoy the challenges presented in preparing and performing this outstanding work.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 5 | Duration: 20:00
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Clarinet in Bb 1
Clarinet in Bb 2
Clarinet in Bb 3
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Trumpet in Bb 1
Trumpet in Bb 2
Trumpet in Bb 3
Horn in F 1/2
Horn in F 3/4
Percussion 1 (bells, 5-octave marimba)
Percussion 2 (vibraphone, chimes, xylophone, crotales [2 oct], crash cymbals)
Percussion 3 (crotales [2 oct], 5-octave marimba, tam-tam, suspended cymbal, brake drum, chimes)
Percussion 4 (whirling tube, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, slapstick, hi-hat)
Percussion 5 (whirling tube, snare drum, 3 concert toms, small bass drum, hi-hat)
Like Symphony No. 1 ("Apocalyptic Dreams"), Symphony No. 2 ("Genesis") is programmatic and based on Biblical scripture. It is inspired by the first nine chapters of Genesis and is divided into five movements: I. In the beginning; II. Eden and the forbidden fruit; III. Noah and the Ark; IV. The floodgates of heaven; and V. The sign of the covenant.
Movement I. In the beginning, opens mysteriously with the whirring of flexible plastic hoses in the percussion and a pedal G in the vibraphone which signify chapter 1, verse 2, "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." God's presence and voice are represented by repeated notes leading to a note a half step above and then back down, (the "God motive") first heard by the horns in the thirteenth measure. Following are ascending passages in the Eb clarinet over harp-like passages in the piano indicative of chapter 1, verse 3, "And God said 'Let there be light', and God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness." An accumulation of texture follows building into an expansive tone cluster which breaks into G major with a soaring melodic line in the horns. The section represents chapter 1, verse 6, "And God said, 'Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.'" Ensuing is the essence of chapter 1, verse 11, "Then God said, ' Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.'", and chapter 1, verse 14-15, "And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.'" Strident articulations of chords along with the brake drum begin this section, likened to lightening, followed by rustling in the clarinets over clusters in the brass followed again by a soaring horn melody emulating the voice of God. Trills and ascending passages in the woodwinds and piano over low brass chords characterize the next section which expresses the creation of living creatures expressed by chapter 1, verse 20 and 24, "And God said, 'Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky'"; "And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.'" A quiet and most reverent section ensues which expresses the voice of God (the "God motive") as He creates his most prized possession, Man, as written in chapter 1, verse 26, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground'". The movement ends with a sort of benediction which utilizes the "God motive" and ends quite peacefully in G major, all inspired by chapter 2, verse 2, "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.'"
Movement II. Eden and the Forbidden Fruit, seeks to exploit both the beauty and the wrath of God. The first part of the movement is devoted to the Garden of Eden, the creation of the woman (Eve) and The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Verses 8-9, 16-17, and 21-22, from the 2nd chapter of Genesis provide the inspiration for this part of the movement: "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." “And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" "So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man." The mood begins to change when the euphonium plays the first two phrases of the hymn O God Our Help in Ages Past (Tune by William Croft 1708; "St. Anne"). Tempted by a most crafty serpent, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it" (chapter 3, vs. 6). The hymn abruptly ends articulated by stopped horns. Following, is a section filled with angry and evil motives and dissonant textures which allude to the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit: "To the woman he said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you'" (chapter 3, vs. 16). And to Adam he said, "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return" (chapter 3, vs. 17-19). The movement ends in woeful reflection of the curse that God bestowed upon mankind.
Movement III. Noah and the Ark, is in a scherzo-trio structure. The scherzo section is set in compound duple meter and reflects Noah's overwhelming job to build a most expansive ark as described in chapter 6 of Genesis. The trio is almost child-like in mood and quotes the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful (Words by Cecil F. Alexander, 1848, 17th century English melody):
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
The hymn serves to create the image of boarding all the "creatures" on the ark: "You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, or every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive." (Chapter 6, vs. 16-20.) The recapitulation of the trio is interrupted by a dissonant textural crescendo leading to movement IV.
Movement IV. The Floodgates of Heaven, begins with falling rain (closed hi-hats) over a pedal Eb. After several strikes of lightning, tutti chords, the heavens open up and it begins to pour (cascading woodwind passages). As described in Chapter 7, vs. 11-12: "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month--on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights." Under the cascading woodwinds the horns and trumpets sing a theme of destruction. The intensity grows and reaches its height in C major and becomes quiet with a repeated eighth note pedal on C in the trumpets. Then, motives from the death chant, Dies Irae, appear in the woodwinds and piano representative of Chapter 7, vs. 23: "Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark." The section builds to a partial statement of the chant by the full ensemble ending with a pedal on G by the timpani
Movement V. The Sign of the Covenant is the fifth and final movement of the symphony. The first part of the movement reflects the dove sent by Noah to find land. The piccolo solo aptly alludes to the bird as it flies toward land and brings back the olive branch: "He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth" (chapter 8, vs. 10-12). Below the continuing song of the piccolo (the dove), the horns sing a theme of celebration as Noah and the animals step off the ark onto dry land. A prayer follows with a series of overlapping cadences alluding to Noah building an altar and God vowing not to ever again destroy the living things on earth (chapter 8, vs. 20: "Then Noah built an altar to the Lord.."; Chapter 8, vs. 21-22: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done."). The symphony ends in fanfare modulating dramatically to E major and then fading away to a single E major chord in the marimba which then fades to silence (Chapter 9, vs. 12-13: "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between men and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.").
Dedicated to Dr. Mallory B. Thompson in celebration of her first decade as Director of Bands at Northwestern University.