Ash & Stone for concert band | grade 1.5
Duration: 3 minutes Publisher: Tyler S. Grant Music Works, LLC
Commissioned by a consortium of bands across the United States, Ash & Stone is a musical depiction of the power and force behind our planet’s ever-changing land formations. At any given moment beneath our feet, numerous changes take place which lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other types of natural phenomenon. While these forces harness the potential to be disastrous to civilizations, they are also stunning display of the power our planet holds and a reminder of its constant evolution. Ash & Stone juxtaposes the portrayal of shifting tectonic plates and erupting magma with lighter and lyrical moments to depict the awe and majesty of Mother Earth.
Banner of the Sky for concert band | grade 4
Duration: 6 minutes Publisher: Tyler S. Grant Music Works, LLC
Commissioned by the Georgia Wind Symphony, Tyler S. Grant’s Banner of the Sky is inspired by the well-known painting of Fredrick Edwin Church. Lyrical passages in this work are reminiscent of Church’s portrayal of the American landscape, while quick-paced sections reflect the fiery orange sky that lights up the night with warmth and passion.
River Poem for concert band | grade 2-2.5
Duration: 4 minutes Publisher: The FJH Music Company, Inc.
River Poem was commissioned by the Muir Middle School Bands of Milford, Michigan. When their director, Kristin Blanchard, approached me about writing a work for her ensemble, she had the idea of surveying the students to generate inspiration and identify potential subject matter for the piece. Upon reading their many responses, I found two ideas to be common. First, the students felt proud of the diversity within their ensemble and school community. Second, they felt that they were each on a journey- a journey that is individualized yet ultimately influenced by the people around them. I found these ideas to be quite compelling and inspiring. As I continued to think about how this might manifest into a single metaphor, I thought about the many water systems within and around the midwestern states. In addition to the great lakes, many river systems connect regions of the states that lead to larger masses of water. This seemed to be the perfect metaphor to describe the ecosystem that the students have created within their band program- a community with many differences, yet depends on one another in a journey to a bigger and brighter future. It is my hope that this work would encourage performers and audiences to consider how we interact with one another and how our own “journeys” have been positively shaped by those around us.
Music from 2017-2018 also worth considering…
Paceline for solo trombone & concert band | grade 3 band (grade 5 solo)
Duration: 4 min Publisher: Tyler S. Grant Music Works LLC
Paceline is a 4-minute show piece designed to feature the virtuosic range and skills of a trombone soloist while accompanied by developing musicians in a scholastic ensemble. The opening of the work is a “warm-up” of sorts - introducing basic rhythms and ideas which are tossed back-and-forth between the band and soloist. As the piece develops, the rhythms and melodic motives become more complex while also settling into a steady groove that propels the soloist and ensemble forward. Sudden bursts from the ensemble represent the shifting of gears as the road becomes unsettling through many inclines, bends, and other obstacles.
Solace in the Equinox for concert band | grade 4
Duration: 7 minutes Publisher: Tyler S. Grant Music Works LLC
(Excerpts by the Spartan Youth Wind Symphony. Arris Golden, conductor)
Although simple and serene in presentation, this lyrical composition is reminiscent of the Irish ballad, Danny Boy; American folk tune, Shenandoah; or John Mackey’s recent Sheltering Sky. This unique composition is charged with multi-meter and lavish expression, while fostering independence of all musicians. As if to welcome a new celestial figure, the marimba and vibraphone magnificently open the piece with a brief repeated theme of gratitude. Followed by more exposed lines and beautiful solo instruments, the melody gently emerges in the alto saxophone and brass as if to depict a flowing feeling of relief from an incurable pain. Even though an extraordinary life is ending, the gorgeously sustained notes reflect hope for a friendship that will never die even with the loss of a human life. As brief moments of musical dissonance reveal heartbreak and the unwelcome tension felt in death, lush harmonies confidently represent comfort and dependability in a sorrowful time. The alto saxophone, clarinet, euphonium, oboe, and horn reemerge with stunning solos to symbolize a final conversation between loyal friends. The climactic ending, filled with dynamic joy, is followed by a final, faint ending of peace. Ultimately, a musical whisper of solace is heard, demonstrating that no amount of darkness can extinguish a friendship.
Program note excerpt by Lori Schwartz Reichl, author and music educator.