Dramatic, nine-minute concert work celebrating restoration and renewal.
Concert Band | Grade 4 | 9:00
Performance materials available for purchase on J.W. Pepper:
Sean Meagher, Epping High School
Brandon Duras, Brunswick High School
Joel M. Graham, The College of Wooster
Ronald Goodwin, Spaulding High School
Timothy Vigneau, Manchester Central High School
Thomas Bourgault, Bridgewater-Raritan High School
Timothy Russell and David Brien, Manchester Memorial High School
Michael Adams, James Boccia, Laura Iwaskiewicz, and Sandra Olson, Pinkerton Academy
Andrew Boysen, Jr., Casey Goodwin, and Mark Zielinski, University of New Hampshire Bands
About the piece
The meaning of this piece’s title is threefold, and in all cases, it is about restoration. On a personal level, it embodies my return to composing after two years of creative drought. It is dedicated to my wife, Meg, and to my mentor, Andy Boysen, for their tireless encouragement, and for pushing me when I was ready to quit. To Meg, for insisting that I take time to pursue composing vocationally. To Andy, for gathering this consortium and providing the occasion to paint once again with one of my favorite sound palettes: the concert band. It is also dedicated to the commissioning band directors, friends all, many of whom were my fellow students at the University of New Hampshire. I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude to you for this opportunity.
Secondly (and separate from any reference to myself), it concerns two figures, one fictional and one historical. The former is Aragorn, a protagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic tale The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn is the descendant of kings from ages past, and his task is to restore that kingdom, which had long since fallen into oblivion. The title of my piece comes from Tolkien’s poem, “All that is gold does not glitter,” which contrasts Aragorn’s humble appearance and rugged experiences with his regal destiny and lineage.
Finally—and most importantly—this piece is about Jesus Christ. He, too, was a descendant of kings, and he arrived in Roman-occupied Judea in humble form. His coming was likewise foretold in ancient poetry, and he bore a quest unique in all of history. His task was not to throw off the yoke of Roman oppression, as many hoped, but something far more important: the restoration of the relationship between God and humanity. All my hope for this restoration is in Christ, and I owe all I have to him. He is the source of any raw composing talent that I possess, and also my chief inspiration for using it. He is my strength when I am weak, my guide through the darkness when I cannot see. He is the way in the wilderness and the river of life in the desert. He takes a faintly burning wick like me and does not quench it, but rekindles it from the ashes to everlasting light.
From the Ashes was premiered by the Wooster Scot Symphonic Band (Joel Graham conducting) on March 1st, 2020, and by the UNH Concert Band (Casey Goodwin conducting) on March 5th.
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Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth
and the coastlands wait for his law.
Thus says the LORD…
“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.”
From the book of Isaiah, chapters 42 and 43. Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), ©2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.