|About this Recording
8.573184 - Wind Band Music - CLARKE, N. / TURNBULL, K. / SANTANDREU, J. (Earthrise) (MTSU Wind Ensemble, Thomas)
Earthrise: Music for Wind Band
Nigel Clarke (b 1960)
Nigel Clarke began his musical career as a military bandsman but a developing interest in composition, stimulated by the New Polish School of composers, took him to the Royal Academy of Music to study with Paul Patterson. Here, several significant awards, including the Josiah Parker Prize and the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence, the Royal Academy of Music’s highest distinction, recognized his striking originality and capacity for hard work. In 2008 the award of Doctor of Musical Arts was conferred upon him by Salford University. Clarke’s previous positions include the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the Royal Academy of Music, the London College of Music and Media, the Royal Northern College of Music and Associate Composer to the Black Dyke Band. He is currently Associate Composer to Brass Band Buizingen and Composer in Residence to the Marinierskapel der Koninklijke Marine (Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy) as well as a Visiting Adjunct Professor of Music at MTSU. He also works as a film composer and has been nominated several times at the World Soundtrack Awards.
 Earthrise (2010)
Earthrise was originally written for and given its première by Brass Band Buizingen under the direction of Luc Vertommen. I transcribed this piece for the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble and its conductor Reed Thomas.
Earthrise is the name of one of the most iconic photographs in history. The original NASA image named AS8-14-2383 was one of a series of photographs taken by William Anders and the Apollo 8 crew on 24 December 1968 during the first manned mission to the Moon. Astronaut Michael Collins, who was later to take part in the Apollo 11 mission that first landed on the Moon and who was working on the ground as capsule communicator for the Apollo 8 team, called their mission “more awe-inspiring than landing on the Moon”. The crew were not briefed by NASA to take photographs of the Earth on their mission but of the Moon; anything else was a so-called “target of opportunity”, so it is extraordinary that the most famous image to be captured on their mission was photograph AS8-14-2383!
Earthrise is written in one continuous movement but divided into three sections fast-slow-fast. In each section I try to emulate the different aspects of the entire flight; from the thunderous roar of the engines igniting and the subsequent speed and power of the take off, to the weightless orbit around the dark side of the moon and the 25,000 mph journey back through space ending with the triumphant splashdown in the Pacific.
Earthrise received its US première with the MTSU Wind Ensemble, conducted by Dr Reed Thomas, on 15 April 2012 in the T Earl Hinton Music Hall. The various moods of Earthrise are reflected and captured by Martin Westlake in a poem of the same name specially commissioned to accompany this score.
– Heritage Suite (2010)
Heritage Suite (What Hope Saw) is dedicated to and written for conductor John Hutchins and the members of Eynsford Concert Band (Kent, England). It was suggested by the band that I should write a work inspired by the bronze sculpture by Sarah Cunnington entitled Hope. The sculpture, found on the Green in West Malling, Kent, is in the shape of a woman running with a dove perched on her hand. The woman’s cloak billows out behind her and contains eight panels describing the town’s local history over the centuries. Historians often focus on the big events that shape our world, but the themes within the eight panels are rather about the fabric of day-to-day life that makes up West Malling’s heritage.
Heritage Suite is a six-movement work representing these eight different subjects. To give my suite a sense of unity, musical ideas from previous movements reappear in unexpected places implying that history often repeats itself. Martin Westlake has written a specially commissioned poem entitled What Hope Saw to accompany Heritage Suite and explain West Malling’s history in more detail.
 Their Finest Hour (2010)
Their Finest Hour was commissioned by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The US première was performed by the MTSU Wind Ensemble on 18 November 2010, in the T Earl Hinton Music Hall. Both the première and this recording were conducted by Lindsay Seagroves. The title of the work is taken from a speech delivered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill on 18 June 1940, within which he famously spoke the words “This was their finest hour”. Allied pilots in the Battle of Britain known as the ‘The Few’ numbered 2,353 British and 574 from overseas. The battle was fought over Britain between 10 July and 31 October. The battle saw 544 lives lost and a further 791 lost before the end of the war.
Their Finest Hour starts with a section subtitled ‘Scramble’—an alarm is sounded on the airfield for the fighter pilots to scramble to their planes—the alarm bell that is used in this recording was actually used in the Battle of Britain back in 1940. The snare drum represents the sound of engines coughing and spluttering into action followed by the unmistakable roar of Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane engines. The next short section, entitled This Was Their Finest Hour, is nostalgic and lyrical in nature. The mood of this patriotic music is broken by a short battle sequence Bandits, one o’clock! Soon the aerial skirmish subsides and is followed by Victory & Flypast, which builds on the nostalgic melody heard earlier, and brings the piece to a triumphant close. Martin Westlake’s specially commissioned poem of the same title evokes the period.
Kit Turnbull (b 1969)
Kit Turnbull began his musical career as a keyboard player in a rock band before joining Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Service in 1991 as a bassoonist. From 1997 he studied composition with Martin Ellerby at the London College of Music, where he subsequently became a course leader and composition tutor. He is currently Composition and Arranging tutor to the Royal Air Force Music Services. A recipient of the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 1998, he has since completed numerous commissions that have been performed all over the world. Since 2001 he has worked as a freelance recording producer for Polyphonic Reproductions, collaborating with the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, RAF Central Band, Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Fodens Band.
– Griot (2009)
In the past, the rôle of the professional musician in West African Tribes was reserved for the Griot (pronounced GREE-o). They still exist today as an equivalent to European troubadours, chronicling the history of their tribes through poetry and song. They are taught by their tribal elders and are required to memorize the songs, poetry, and history of their ancestors.
Music is a central part of West African tribal life in song, dancing and drumming, and accompanies the many festivals, ceremonies, and tribal activities that are celebrated. A Griot is always present at tribal occasions and is central in not only telling stories through poetry, music and mime, but also drawing in the audience until they become a key part of the performance. Even in the modern age, the Griot maintains a highly important position in the spiritual and cultural life of their tribe.
1. The Orator
2. The Songsmith
3. Dancers and Drummers
Griot was first performed by David Loucky (trombone) and the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Reed Thomas, on Friday 3 February 2012, in the T Earl Hinton Music Hall, MTSU.
Jesús Santandreu (b 1970)
Jesús Santandreu began his studies at the Conservatorio Mestre Vert, in Carcaixent, Valencia. He studied with Manuel Miján at the Conservatorio Profesional Amaniel and the Conservatorio Superior. He graduated magnum cum laude from Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts) in 2000 and completed his Master’s degree in conducting from MTSU in 2013. Santandreu has been commissioned to write for multiple ensembles including, but not limited to, the Adolphe Sax Saxophone Quartet, the Spanish Brass Luur Metalls, Sedajazz, Orquesta Azahar de Castellón, IV Congreso Iberoamericano de Compositores, and Bläserphilharmonie Heilbronn. His music has been performed throughout Europe and the United States. Santandreu is among Spain’s most important jazz musicians. He began performing when he was only fourteen, as a member of the Jove Jazz Band, where he is currently the Artistic Director.
 Sortes Diabolorum (2010)
The definition of Sortes Diabolorum is taken from the Russian writer Helena Pretovna Blavatsky’s (1831–1891) book The Theosophical Glossary. I personally find her writing a source of inspiration for many of my compositions. The Latin word sortes means luck and refers to a way of predicting the future that was commonly used for thousands of years. This practice consisted of asking a question, choosing any book, opening it randomly at any page, and taking a quotation from the open pages and using that as the answer. This method was widely used for centuries by Arabs, Babylonians, Egyptians, Romans and many more.
During the Middle Ages Saint Augustine used it quite frequently. It was during this time that the term sortes became Sortes Sanctorum, as the clergy would use this method, always using the Bible as the reference book. This future-telling practice continued to be used by others outside the clergy and a term, coined by the church, Sortes Diabolorum became the description of this practice when used by a lay person or pagan.
The historical framework that gave rise to the emergence of the Inquisition, when sorcerers and witches were persecuted and burned at the stake, is the context of this piece. Despite the atmosphere of unease that surrounds Sortes Diabolorum, there are also quite a few moments of peaceful calm that remind us of the mysticism of the piece. Throughout the work, the textures are treated in such a way that each section gradually attains a higher level of brightness culminating in the tremendous finale, which expresses the triumph of common sense over the shortsightedness of those dark, repressive times.
Sortes Diabolorum received its US première with the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ensemble, under Reed Thomas on 13 October 2011, in the T Earl Hinton Music Hall.Jesús Santandreu
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