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John Mackey (b. 1973) once famously compared the band and the orchestra to the kind of girl a composer might meet at a party. The orchestra seems like she ought to be your ideal woman, but she clearly feels superior to you and talks a lot about her exes (like Dvorak and Beethoven). The band, meanwhile, is loud and brash, but loves everything you do and can’t wait to play your stuff, the newer, the better! (I’ve rather poorly paraphrased Mackey – it’s best understood in his original blog post on the subject).

With this attitude and his prodigious talent, John Mackey has become a superstar composer among band directors. He has even eclipsed his former teacher, John Corigliano, by putting out more than a dozen new band works, including a symphony, since 2005. All are challenging, and all are innovative. Mackey’s works for wind ensemble and orchestra have been performed around the world, and have won numerous composition prizes. His Redline Tango, originally for orchestra and then transcribed by the composer for band, won him the American Bandmasters Assocation/Ostwald Award in 2005, making him, then 32, the youngest composer ever to recieve that prize.  He won again in 2009 with Aurora Awakes.  His compositional style is fresh and original. I once heard him state that he counted the band Tool among his musical influences.

John Mackey publishes his own music through Osti Music.  The website for this company doubles as his personal website and his blog, which is very informative for anyone looking for a composer’s perspective on new music. He is featured on wikipedia and the Wind Repertory Project.  He is also on Twitter 20 or so times a day.  And he has a Facebook composer page.

Mackey wrote The Frozen Cathedral in 2012.  Jake Wallace provides the official program notes:

The Koyukon call it “Denali,” meaning “the great one,” and it is great. It stands at more than twenty thousand feet above sea level, a towering mass over the Alaskan wilderness. Measured from its base to its peak, it is the tallest mountain on land in the world—a full two thousand feet taller than Mount Everest. It is Mount McKinley, and it is an awesome spectacle. And it is the inspiration behind John Mackey’s The Frozen Cathedral.

The piece was born of the collaboration between Mackey and John Locke, Director of Bands at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Locke asked Mackey if he would dedicate the piece to the memory of his late son, J.P., who had a particular fascination with Alaska and the scenery of Denali National Park. Mackey agreed—and immediately found himself grappling with two problems.

How does one write a concert closer, making it joyous and exciting and celebratory, while also acknowledging, at least to myself, that this piece is rooted in unimaginable loss: The death of a child?

The other challenge was connecting the piece to Alaska – a place I’d never seen in person. I kept thinking about all of this in literal terms, and I just wasn’t getting anywhere.  My wife, who titles all of my pieces, said I should focus on what it is that draws people to these places. People go to the mountains—these monumental, remote, ethereal and awesome parts of the world—as a kind of pilgrimage. It’s a search for the sublime, for transcendence. A great mountain is like a church. “Call it The Frozen Cathedral,” she said.

I clearly married up.

The most immediately distinct aural feature of the work is the quality (and geographic location) of intriguing instrumental colors. The stark, glacial opening is colored almost exclusively by a crystalline twinkling of metallic percussion that surrounds the audience. Although the percussion orchestration carries a number of traditional sounds, there are a host of unconventional timbres as well, such as crystal glasses, crotales on timpani, tam-tam resonated with superball mallets, and the waterphone, an instrument used by Mackey to great effect on his earlier work Turning. The initial sonic environment is an icy and alien one, a cold and distant landscape whose mystery is only heightened by a longing, modal solo for bass flute—made dissonant by a contrasting key, and more insistent by the eventual addition of alto flute, English horn, and bassoon. This collection expands to encompass more of the winds, slowly and surely, with their chorale building in intensity and rage. Just as it seems their wailing despair can drive no further, however, it shatters like glass, dissipating once again into the timbres of the introductory percussion.

The second half of the piece begins in a manner that sounds remarkably similar to the first. In reality, it has been transposed into a new key and this time, when the bass flute takes up the long solo again, it resonates with far more compatible consonance. The only momentary clash is a Lydian influence in the melody, which brings a brightness to the tune that will remain until the end. Now, instead of anger and bitter conflict, the melody projects an aura of warmth, nostalgia, and even joy. This bright spirit pervades the ensemble, and the twinkling colors of the metallic percussion inspire a similar percolation through the upper woodwinds as the remaining winds and brass present various fragmented motives based on the bass flute’s melody. This new chorale, led in particular by the trombones, is a statement of catharsis, at once banishing the earlier darkness in a moment of spiritual transcendence and celebrating the grandeur of the surroundings. A triumphant conclusion in E-flat major is made all the more jubilant by the ecstatic clattering of the antiphonal percussion, which ring into the silence like voices across the ice.

One feature that Wallace does not highlight but that is especially important to the overall impression of the piece is Mackey’s use of bimodal chords (both major and minor at the same time) and unprepared half step dissonances throughout the bigger sections of the work.  These add a shocking element to the grandeur and catharsis that Mackey portrays.  Also, Mackey added an organ part to the piece in 2013.  I was lucky enough to be in rehearsals and in the hall for the performance of this version with Arizona State University Wind Orchestra conducted by the amazing Gary Hill on March 4, 2014.

You can look at the score and hear a recording of the piece at Mackey’s website.  You can also read about the piece at the Wind Repertory Project.  Mackey also talks in some detail about the piece on his very candid blog.

Those too lazy to click a link can hear The Frozen Cathedral via YouTube here (it’s the same recording as above, without organ):

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Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is undoubtedly one of Western music’s most controversial figures.  His operas (he called them music-dramas) redefined the genre and pushed it to its limits.  His epic Ring cycle spans four operas and about 16 hours of music.   For this, invented the leitmotif, a recognizable melodic theme connected to certain characters, places, events, or moods in his operas.  He also invented new instruments (e.g. the Wagner tuba) and had his own opera house built (at Bayreuth) in order to get exactly the sound that he wanted.  He pushed harmonic boundaries ever further, eventually eschewing any tonal resolution in the opera Tristan und Isolde (which is often regarded as the first modern opera).  For all of these operas, he assumed near total control, writing the librettos and designing the sets himself.  He was also a writer whose opinions on many things, especially Judaism, have remained a stain on his character.  In short, he was a large, uncompromising personality whose effects are still strongly felt in music and beyond.

One of Wagner’s earliest musical heroes was Carl Maria von Weber, another German composer of famous operas.  This composer was Wagner’s direct inspiration for Trauersinfonie.  Richard Franko Goldman elaborates in the program notes from his band‘s edition of the score:

Eighteen years after the death in London of Carl Maria von Weber, a patriotic movement in Germany resulted in the transference of his remains to his native land.  In December of that year (1844) an impressive ceremony took place in Dresden, in which Wagner took a leading part.  Besides reading the solemn oration, Wagner composed the march for the torchlight procession.  This march, scored by Wagner for large wind band, was based on two themes from Weber’s opera “Euryanthe“, and thus represented a musical homage to the earlier composer.  The score remained unpublished until 1926, and the work has remained among the least known of all Wagner’s compositions.

The Funeral Music was performed in a revised “concert” version by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Mengelberg in 1927.  On that occasion, Herbert Peyser wrote in the New York Evening Telegram: “This extraordinary piece–only 80 bars in length, but so profoundly moving, so filled with spacious and majestic solemnity…invites a prohibitive amount of history.  The melodic materials collated by Wagner are only the eerie pianissimo theme from the ‘Euryanthe’ Overture, associated with the vision of Emma’s spirit, and the sorrowful cavatina ‘Hier, dicht am Quell’, the first closing the composition in the transfigured form it assumes in the last act of the opera…

“The effect of this music, magnificent and heart-shaking as it was…must have been overwhelming amid the solemnity of that nocturnal torch-light procession in the Dresden of 1844…For if the themes are Weber’s, the creative imagination embodied in their sequence, their scoring, their exalted lament, is powerfully Wagner’s…”

Wagner’s scoring was for large, but conventional military band, similar to the bands of today except for the absence of saxophones.  The composition as played by the Goldman Band is in faithful accordance with the original score except for very minor revisions, made by Erik Leidzen, which were necessitated by the changes in wind instruments and usage since Wagner’s early years.

There also exists a later edition of the score, edited by Michael Votta and John Boyd, which goes further towards identifying Wagner’s original instrumentation and source material (and calls the piece Trauermusik).  Like the Leidzen edition, though, it does include parts for saxophones, which had only just been invented and were not in wide usage at the time of Trauersinfonie‘s composition.

An excellent high school band plays the Boyd/Votta Trauermusik.  They do some wonderful musical things, but I would quibble with some of the rubato, given that this piece was written as a processional.  Still, it is an excellent performance all around, certainly the best on YouTube at the moment:

Read more about Trauersinfonie at windbandlit’s blog and the Wind Repertory Project, or check out Michael Votta’s research on the piece (also try here).  Arne Dich put together a woodwind quintet version of the piece, which you can download for free.  As for Wagner himself, here is just a small sampling of what the Internet has to say about him: Wikipedia, Biography.com (video), the Jewish Virtual Library, WagnerOpera.net, ipl2, and PBS Great Performances.

For a taste of the original material from Euryanthe that Wagner used, listen to the overture, especially around 4:40:

Here also is the cavatina “Hier dicht am quell”:

The thoroughly original, largely self-taught composer Warren Benson (1924-2005) began his musical life as a percussionist.  He was playing professionally by age 14, and became the timpanist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra by age 22.  With his performance career well underway, he studied music theory at the University of Michigan (BM 1949, MM 1950).  Upon graduating, he received two successive Fulbright grants (two more would come later) to teach in Salonika, Greece, where he set up a co-ed choir at Anatolia College (the first of its kind the country) and developed a bi-lingual music curriculum.  Upon his return to the US, in 1953, he accepted a post as composer-in-residence and professor of music at Ithaca College, where he stayed for 14 years.  He spent the remainder of his career (1967-1993) as a professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music, where he received numerous awards for his music and his teaching.  He had a pioneer spirit in many respects: not only did he start the first co-ed college choir in Greece, he also started the first touring percussion ensemble in the US the moment he started at Ithaca.  He later was one of the founding members of the World Association of Symphonic Band and Ensembles (WASBE), an international advocacy group for wind bands.  He is particularly remembered for his song cycles and his distinctly original contributions to the wind band literature, including The Leaves Are Falling (1964-5), The Solitary Dancer (1966), The Passing Bell (1974) and Symphony II-Lost Songs (1983).

The Leaves Are Falling is a statement of grief following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  For Benson, his feelings on the matter were encapsulated by Rainer Maria Rilke‘s poem Herbst (Autumn):

Autumn

The leaves are falling, falling as from way off,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
they are falling with denying gestures.

And in the nights the heavy earth is falling
from all the stars down into loneliness.

We all are falling. This hand falls.
And look at others: it is in them all.

And yet there is one who holds this falling
endlessly gently in his hands.

He thus borrowed the first line of the poem as the title of the piece.  It opens with distantly tolling chimes, followed by a long line in the low flute that introduces the melodic material for much of the piece.  In the second half, Benson begins using the hymn Ein Feste Burg while restating the first melody, working the two melodies ever closer together to a climax.  All the while, the chimes continue to toll.  The Leaves Are Falling is an especially demanding piece in many respects.  At 11 and a half minutes, with the half note marked at 32-34 bpm, it demands intense concentration of the ensemble, and masterly pacing by the conductor.  The amount of exposed playing by every section and the level of musicianship demanded of each player also contribute to its difficulty.  Yet a thoughtfully-paced performance (as below) can be a transcendent experience.

Everyone who plans to conduct The Leaves Are Falling MUST read this 1983 article in which Donald Hunsberger interviews Benson about the piece and does a thorough analysis of it.  You can read up further on Benson and his music at Wikipedia and his extensive, up-to-date website.

The Norwegian Windband plays The Leaves Are Falling:

The quoted hymn, Ein Feste Burg:

Larry Daehn (b. 1939) is a composer, teacher, and music educator from Wisconsin.  Daehn’s program notes for As Summer Was Just Beginning (Song for James Dean) (1994) are moving and descriptive, so I defer to him:

I liken him to a kind of star, or a comet that fell through the sky, and everybody talks about it yet today. – Julie Harris

He seems to capture that moment of youth … where we’re all desperately seeking to find ourselves. – Dennis Hopper

He is not our hero because he was perfect, but because he perfectly represented the damaged but beautiful soul of our time. – Andy Warhol

James Byron Dean (1931 – 1955) experienced the brightest and briefest movie career ever. In 16 months he made three movies: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. Only the first had been released when he was killed in a car accident at age 24. His death on September 30, 1955, sparked an unparalleled outpouring of sorrow. For three years after his death, Warner Brothers received more letters to him than to any living actor.

And the James Dean phenomenon has never really ended. Thousands still come to the little town of Fairmount, Indiana, to see the farm where he grew up and to visit his grave there. His familiar image appears worldwide on posters and T-shirts. He has been the subject of many books, songs, TV documentaries, plays, movies, and hundreds of magazine articles. Forty years after his death, James Dean is still a hero to his own generation and to succeeding generations who keep his legend alive.

People were robbed of him. Whenever you’re robbed of something, it lingers with you. – Martin Landau

A bronze bust of James Dean by artist Kenneth Kendall stands near Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, California. There is a Greek inscription on the right shoulder which, when translated reads, “As Summer Was Just Beginning.” This sentiment, from a painting by John La Farge, is a Greek epitaph concerning the death of a young person. I chose it as the title for this piece.

I loosely based the main melody (heard at the beginning and at measures 33 and 57) on an old British Isles folksong, “The Winter it is past, and the Summer’s here at last.” I chose it because Dean’s Quaker heritage goes back to England, Ireland and Scotland, and because this simple bittersweet song about summer seemed appropriate for remembering James Dean.

The North Texas Wind Symphony presents As Summer Was Just Beginning with near perfection, as usual:

More on the piece at Literature for Small Bands (an excellent resource!) and a University of Michigan report (.doc).

As he says in the program notes, Daehn based As Summer Was Just Beginning on the British Isles folk song “The Winter it is past“.  Here is a sung rendition of that:

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was an influential French composer and head of the Paris Conservatoire for 15 years in the early 20th century.  Although his own works were for the most part highly lyrical, he is thought to have spanned the gulf between the Romanticism that dominated the musical circles of his youth and the Modernism of his later years, in large part due to his role as head of the Conservatoire.  He was revered by the French people and fellow composers even to the end of his life, which is all the more remarkable given that his last years came after tumultuous changes in the music world that left many more conservative composers out of favor.

Fauré wrote Chant Funéraire (Funeral Song) in 1921 on a commission from the French government to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Napoleon‘s death.  He wrote it at age 75, after having retired from the Paris Conservatoire.  Despite his ill health, he continued to compose, creating 2 cello sonatas and numerous other pieces that seemed to posses a youthful energy.  He re-used the Chant Funéraire nearly verbatim as the second movement of the first cello sonata, showing that he must have had some affection for the material.  Fauré did not orchestrate the Chant Funeraire himself.  He left that to Guillaume Balay, who conducted the premiere performance with the Gardé Republicaine Band.  Myron “Mike” Moss created a new orchestration in 2003.  Says Moss in his score notes:

Balay’s orchestration offers the power called for by the state occasion of the premiere, but it is weighed down by the band music conventions of its time.  The scoring is thick throughout (a phenomenon found nowhere in Fauré’s own orchestrations), the score’s quiet moments are especially over-instrumented, and Fauré’s clean and sonorous voice leading is often obscured through inconsistent octave doublings.  The present orchestration emulates the transparent and clear scoring of Fauré’s own style.

There are a bunch of great internet sources for Chant Funéraire (and the related cello sonata): the Wind Repertory ProjectHal LeonardClassical Archives, the Trinity International University Concert BandNaxos, a session from the 2008 Midwest Clinic, and a review of the First Cello Sonata.  Fauré himself is featured on Wikipedia, a Facebook page, a YouTube artist pageNaxosNPR, and the BBC.

There appears to be only one recording of Chant Funéraire on YouTube.  Thankfully, it is a good one: Moss’s orchestration with Kevin Sedatole conducting a Texas regional honor band:

And here is the second movement of the First Cello Sonata, which uses exactly the same material:

Finally, two early gems of Fauré’s work that have personal meaning for me.  First, the Cantique de Jean Racine, which gave me one of my first profound experiences as a choral singer at Laurel Music Camp in between 9th and 10th grade:

Now the Chanson d’amour, which was sung during my wedding ceremony:

Andrew Boysen, Jr. (b. 1968) is a prolific composer of wind band music.  He has conducting degrees from Northwestern University and the Eastman School of Music.  He is currently an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire, where he teaches conducting and orchestration classes and conducts the University wind symphony.  He maintains an active guest conducting schedule, with appearances all over the United States and in Great Britain.  He continues to compose, and has received numerous commissions for new works.  Boysen wrote Conversations With the Night in 1994, in the wake of tragedy.  In his own words:

Conversations With the Night was commissioned by Jeff Doughten and the Andrews, Texas High School Band as a memorial to their friend and fellow musician, Jerry Don Belt.  The piece is based on one of Jerry Don’s favorite hymns, “When I See the Blood.”  There are several trombone solos in the work because that was Jerry Don’s instrument.

The title for this work explains a lot about the organization of the piece and the motivation behind it.  It stems from a conversation I had with Jerry Don’s parents in which they told me of his deep religious convictions, his love of people, his fascination with lightning, and his smiling face.  In other words, they gave me chance to get to know Jerry Don as much as I possibly could.  The one thing that struck me the most in our talk was the fact that Jerry Don used to enjoy going for walks outside at night by himself.  His mother then mentioned how she goes outside at night now to talk with him, because that is when she feels the closest to him.  Conversations With the Night is my reaction to how she must feel at times when she talks to him–feelings of pain, love, and ultimately, peace.

Here are my great friends at the Manhattan Wind Ensemble playing Conversations with the Night:

Here’s the original hymn, “When I See the Blood”, in appropriate congregation-singing style:

The lyrics are here, if you’d like a look.

Learn more about Andrew Boysen at Kjos (his publisher) and the University of New Hampshire.  He also has a fan page on profileengine.com.

Conversations With the Night has some fans on the web.  There’s even another wordpress blog post about it!  It contains a great musical analysis of the piece, which is absolutely worth a read.

We’ve done this piece once in Columbia Wind Ensemble, as a senior choice for CUWE president Cindy Gerson (Glick) ’04.

Philip Sparke (b. 1951) is a prolific British composer, primarily of works for wind band and brass band.  He studied at London’s Royal College of Music, where he played in the wind orchestra and started a student brass band.  He has been commissioned by top world bands, including the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and the US Air Force Band, and his compositions have won many awards, including the Sudler Prize (Dance Movements, 1997) and the NBA Revelli  Composition Contest (Music of the Spheres, 2005).

Sparke describes the impetus for The Sun Will Rise Again in his own program notes:

On March 11th 2011 a massive 9.0- magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of north-eastern Japan.

I’m writing these programme notes barely a week later and the death toll caused by the quake and resulting tsunami already exceeds 6000, with thousands of people still unaccounted for.

I have many friends associated with many bands throughout Japan and one of these, Yutaka Nishida, suggested I write a piece to raise money to help those affected by the disaster. I was immediately attracted by the idea and have arranged Cantilena (a brass band piece recently commissioned by the Grenland International Brass Festival, Norway) for wind band, giving it a new title to honour my friends in the Land of the Rising Sun.

I will be donating royalties from this piece to the Japanese Red Cross Society Emergency Relief Fund and am delighted to say that my distributors, De Haske, who will generously also donate all net profits from sales of this piece, have pledged a substantial advance payment to the Red Cross so that what little help this project generates can be immediate.

It is my sincere wish that this ‘Band Aid’ project will allow wind bands around the world support the people of Japan, where bands are a way of life for many, in this difficult time”.

Here’s the band version:

You can also read about (but not listen to) the original brass band version here.

Philip Sparke has an extensive website that is worth a look.

I thought for 4th of July weekend I would write about an America-themed piece, so Ticheli’s An American Elegy rose to the top of the pile.  But this is not your usual patriotic jaunt, brimming with a clear sense of independent spirit.  In fact, it’s a piece with a rather emotionally-complicated origin that’s difficult to write about.  On April 20, 1999, 2 students at Columbine high school in Colorado began a shooting rampage at their school that would kill 12 students and 1 teacher and injure 21 others.  It stopped when the 2 gunmen committed suicide.  Look here for more details.  To call it a tragedy is an understatement – it shook up the whole country and, at least momentarily, brought a host of issues about teenagers, bullying, and guns (to name a few) to the forefront of our national attention.  An American Elegy was born as part of the healing process from this terrible event.  Frank Ticheli himself describes it best:

An American Elegy was commissioned by the Columbine Commissioning Fund, a special project sponsored by the Alpha Iota Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi at the University of Colorado on behalf of the Columbine High School Band. Contributors to the Fund included members, chapters, alumni, and friends of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Fraternity and Sorority.

The work received its premiere performance by the Columbine High School Band, William Biskup, director, Frank Ticheli, guest conductor, on April 23, 2000. Its premiere served as the centerpiece of a special commemorative concert given by the Columbine High School Band in conjunction with the University of Colorado Wind Symphony, held at Macky Hall in Boulder, Colorado.

An American Elegy is, above all, an expression of hope. It was composed in memory of those who lost their lives at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, and to honor the survivors. It is offered as a tribute to their great strength and courage in the face of a terrible tragedy. I hope the work can also serve as one reminder of how fragile and precious life is and how intimately connected we all are as human beings.

I was moved and honored by this commission invitation, and deeply inspired by the circumstances surrounding it. Rarely has a work revealed itself to me with such powerful speed and clarity.  The first eight bars of the main melody came to me fully formed in a dream. Virtually every element of the work was discovered within the span of about two weeks.  The remainder of my time was spent refining, developing, and orchestrating.

The work begins at the bottom of the ensemble’s register, and ascends gradually to a heartfelt cry of hope. The main theme that follows, stated by the horns, reveals a more lyrical, serene side of the piece. A second theme, based on a simple repeated harmonic pattern, suggest yet another, more poignant mood. These three moods — hope, serenity, and sadness — become intertwined throughout the work, defining its complex expressive character.  A four-part canon builds to a climactic quotation of the Columbine Alma Mater.  The music recedes, and an offstage trumpeter is heard, suggesting a celestial voice — a heavenly message. The full ensemble returns with a final, exalted statement of the main theme.

You can find out more about Frank Ticheli at these links:

Ticheli’s publisher hosts a complete, downloadable set of mp3s of the vast majority of his large ensemble music on their website – quite a find!

Frank Ticheli’s personal website, Frankticheli.com.

Ticheli bio on wikipedia.

Frank Ticheli’s Facebook fanclub.

A video interview with Ticheli in which he talks about composing.

Now here’s a YouTube performance, and a mighty good one at that:

One final note: if you’re programming this piece now (or at any time after I’m putting this up), consider that most high schoolers now are barely old enough to remember the Columbine shootings.  That was 1999.  As of 2011, the kids who were in kindergarten then have just finished high school!  Soon enough, high school kids will have been born after Columbine!  So please, follow the intent of this site and give your players the context for this piece.  It’s not easy to talk about, but it’s important that they understand the emotional place that gives rise to music like this and gives it meaning.

Randall Thompson (1899-1984) was one of America’s pre-eminent choral composers during his lifetime.  He was also noted educator, holding teaching posts at Wellesley College, the Curitis Institute, and Harvard University, among others. His notable students included Samuel Adler, Leo Kraft, and Leonard Bernstein.

Of all of his many choral works, Alleluia stands out as the most popular.  It was originally written on a commission from Serge Koussevitsky for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in 1940.  Koussevitsky expected a fanfare for voices, something joyous and celebratory. Yet Thompson did not feel this was appropriate given the recent events in Europe, including the fall of France to Nazi Germany. So he responded instead with the plaintive, introverted Alleluia.  He called his work “a very sad piece. The word ‘Alleluia’ has so many possible interpretations. The music in my particular Alleluia cannot be made to sound joyous. It is a slow, sad piece, and…here it is comparable to the Book of Job, where it is written, ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.'”

More information about Randall Thompson can be found on Wikipedia, Thorpe Music Company, singers.com, and Harvard Magazine.

His Alleluia is described on Wikipedia.  Someone else also has a resource page on the piece with some great historical background – check it out!

The band version of Alleluia appeared in 1993.  It was arranged by Lewis Buckley, director of the US Coast Guard Band.

Band version:

And the original choral version:

Michael Mogensen (b. 1973) is a composer from Hagerstown, Maryland. His compositions have been played all over the US and the world, and have won him several awards. He is one of the featured composers in volume four of Composers on Composing for Band.

September was written in memory of the events of September 11, 2001. It was a finalist in the Columbia Summer Winds Outdoor Composition Contest.

More info on September is available at C. L. Barnhouse publications. Listen to a partial recording of September here.