Grade: 3 Year: 2016 DURATION: 6 min PUBLISHER: The FJH Music Company, Inc.
Resplendent Light was commissioned by the Concord Middle School Bands of Concord, Massachusetts and is dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, Robert Tabler Grant (1936-2015). My deepest thanks to directors Paul Halpainy and Christopher Noce for their belief in my work and for making this piece possible.
More often than not, the circumstances of life seem to happen when we least expect; at least, that’s the way it felt upon the genesis of Resplendent Light. Commissioned by a school in Concord, Massachusetts, it was suggested to me to use Henry David Thoreau’s Walden as a source of inspiration for this serene and introspective work. Anyone who has read Walden knows that one of the prominent overarching tones is “reflection”. I had just sketched the first few melodic ideas for the work when I received the horrific news that my grandfather had passed away after a long battle with heart disease. While we knew that his health condition was declining, we were unaware just how fast the disease would compromise his stability. Upon the death of a loved-one, one can’t help but become immersed in self-reflection- reflecting of my own life, my heritage, and the lives of those around me. Much like the way Thoreau chose to distance himself from the rest of the world in order to reflect, I spent several weeks blocking out the noise of our perpetually loud world to focus on these reflective thoughts.
Upon returning to work on the piece, I began to notice parallels between the concepts in Thoreau’s text and the way my grandfather lived most of his life. While he did not share Thoreau’s viewpoint of transcendentalism, he was a simple man who lived most of his life on a farm in West Virginia. Seldom would he allow the “noise” of the outside world to pollute his life. He was self-reliant and taught his children to be the same. In many ways, this work became a tribute to his life and how, even though he is no longer here, his legacy still shines through those he knew.
The title derives from the tenth chapter of Walden. In his somewhat-borrowed description of the “resplendent light” at sunset, it accurately portrays the many mornings that I spent on the West Virginia farm that holds a significant place in my childhood.