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Duration: c. 6:30
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Maecenas Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - £50.95 | Score Only (print) - £14.95
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
C Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
(percussion detail desired)
None discovered thus far.
Bright Spirit, based on a poem of the same name by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), was dedicated to Timothy and Hilary Reynish in memory of their son Will, who died in a climbing accident in 2001, at the age of 32. The poem is a brief elegy for Shelley's son, also named William, who died in childhood.
Bingham's seven-minute meditation on a parent¹s loss of a child is a wordless reflection of the sentiments of anguished grief expressed in the poem.
My lost son William, thou in whom
Some bright spirit lived, and did
That decaying robe consume
Which its lustre faintly hid,
Here its ashes find a tomb.
But beneath this pyramid
Thou are not if a thing divine
Like thee can die, thy funeral shrine
Is thy mother¹s grief and mine.
Where art thou gentle child?
Let me think thy spirit feeds,
Within its life intense and mild,
The love of living leaves and weeds,
Among these ruins cold and wild;
Let me think that through low seeds
Of the sweet flowers and sunny grass,
Into their hues and scents may pass
A portion -
Bright Spirit was commissioned by Timothy Reynish with financial assistance from Baylor University, Texas, USA, and BASBWE. It is dedicated "To Tim and Hilary Reynish in memory of their son Will who died in a climbing accident in 2001" and was first performed by Baylor University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Timothy Reynish, in Jones Concert Hall, Waco, Texas, USA, on 5 February 2002.
- Program Note by World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE)
The shape of the piece follows loosely the shape of the poem. It begins with a slow funeral march, which eventually gives way to a more dogged march, building to a massive climax. The message is that the bereaved have to come through grief and continue onwards. The four-note twisting phrase is the word “Will” in musical terms. The work was written in the aftermath of 9/11, so composer Bingham felt it was curiously apt to write a memorial piece at that time.
- Program Note from Baylor University Symphonic Band concert program, 22 March 2021
- Bright Spirit has been recommended as interesting, serious and distinctive music by members of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE).
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- National Children's Concert Band (Birmingham, UK) (Sarah Hind, conductor) – 8 April 2023
- Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony (Anthony C. Marinello II, conductor) - 24 April 2021
- Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Isaiah Odajima, conductor) - 22 March 2021
- Bloomsbury Woodwind Ensemble (Shea Lolin, conductor) – 2013
- Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Reynish, conductor) - 5 February 2002 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Bright Spirit (2001)
- Bright Spirit (arr. Cawkwell) (2001/2013)
- Four Minute Mile
- Mozart's Pets (2021)
- The Snows Descend (1997)
- The Stars Above the Earth Below
- These are Our Footsteps
- Three American Icons (1997)
- Ziggurat (2007)
- Bingham, J.; Shelley, P. (2002). Bright spirit : For Symphonic Wind Ensemble (2001) [score]. Maecenas Music: Kenley.
- Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Judith Bingham." Accessed 30 July 2016
- Perusal score
- World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) Accessed 30 July 2016