This is exhilarating! With Heart & Voice begins with a feeling of reticence and apprehension, and works through many emotions, finally growing into celebration with joyful and dramatic exuberance. What better way to celebrate than with our hearts and voices.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 9:00
Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3
F Horn 1/2
F Horn 3/4
Timpani (4 drums)
Percussion 1 (crotales, xylophone, temple blocks)
Percussion 2 (bells, crash cymbals, tam-tam)
Percussion 3 (vibraphone, chimes, hi-hat, snare drum)
Percussion 4 (3 tom-toms, bass drum, 3 brake drums, suspended cymbal, marimba)
With Heart & Voice was commissioned by Apple Valley High School Bands, Scott A. Jones, director (Apple Valley, Minnesota), to commemorate the 25th year of existence of this high school. Apple Valley High School's strong commitment to the arts was a major factor in my decision to take on this commission. After visiting the school in December of 2000 and meeting many of the students, faculty, and administrators, I became greatly inspired.
Thematically, the work is based on the Apple Valley High School Alma Mater, an old Spanish hymn which has made its way into most church hymnals under the name of "Come, Christians, Join to Sing." It is perhaps fate that this hymn, a particular favorite of mine, happens to be the tune used for the Alma Mater. Christian Henry Bateman wrote the words for the hymn in 1843 and the first verse contains the line, "Let all, with heart and voice, before his throne rejoice." Hence, the title, With Heart and Voice. What better way to celebrate 25 years of this great high school than with our "hearts" and "voices." The "voice" in this case is the music and the "heart" is the emotion that the music renders in celebration.
Although the work is largely celebratory in nature, it begins with a feeling of reticence and apprehension, much like the beginnings of Apple Valley High School. It was at one time only an idea or perhaps only a sketch in the mind of the architect. Small fragments of the Alma Mater are heard in the opening moments of the piece. The piece gains momentum, texture and volume in this opening section culminating in a dramatic statement of the first four notes of the theme. A calmness follows and a lyrical flute solo enters. This new material represents the uniqueness of the "mission" of a new school which will have roots in academic excellence and commitment to the visual and performing arts. The euphonium echoes the flute and soon more instruments join in and the section culminates with a dramatic fanfare. This is followed by a transitional section with much dissonance and rhythmic activity, equated to the challenge of bringing life to this new school. A glorious statement of the Alma Mater follows signifying the dedication of Apple Valley High School, twenty five years ago. The ensuing section begins as a fugue with underlying unsettling rhythmic activity in the percussion. The obvious reference of this section is the challenge-maintaining the goals and mission of the high school. The section becomes frantic and desperate, but soon subsides into peacefulness. The peacefulness is stated by the marriage of the "Alma Mater " theme and the "Mission" theme…after all, for the High School to survive, it must never forget its mission. An extended finale follows which celebrates both themes in playful, joyful, and dramatic exuberance.