Dispatches from the Anthropocene
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Duration: c. 17:00
Difficulty: IV+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Murphy Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts - $275.00; Score: $100.00
1. Manifest Destiny - 1:55
2. Carousel of Progress - 3:35
3. Follow the Leaders (after Isaac Cordal) - 2:40
4. Manifest Destiny: World on Fire
5. Thunberg's Children
Oboe I-II (optional)
Bassoon I-II (optional)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
(percussion detail desired)
None discovered thus far.
The idea for Dispatches from the Anthropocene came about in conversations with Andy Pease, director of wind ensembles at Hartwick College, who suggested I listen to a podcast titled The Anthropocene Reviewed. While this piece was to be originally a commentary on climate change and its socio-political implications, the podcast focuses not only on the negative effects of human activity, but also positive ones. In that way, Dispatches from the Anthropocene became more of a series of diary entries on the human condition and its journey to the 21st century.
The term "anthropocene" refers to our current geological period, defined by human activity as the dominant force affecting climate and the environment. Manifest Destiny, the first piece in the suite, is a fanfare that gradually falls apart, much like human activity can begin with the best of intentions, but can be derailed by hubris. The second movement, Carousel of Progress, is a more positive take on human ingenuity and inspiration, from the pyramids and the wheel, to the Internet and beyond. It's followed by Follow the Leaders, a more negative view inspired by the miniature sculpture of the same name by the artist Isaac Cordal. In that sculpture, a group of men ("politicians discussing climate change") are slowly drowning in a puddle as they discuss how to solve the problem that is gradually engulfing them.
Movement four, Manifest Destiny: World on Fire, is a reworking of the first movement's fanfare but this time as a blood-curdling shriek of terror at the poor state of the world. (Written in May, 2020, the blood-curdling shriek is not only about climate change, but about a global pandemic that seemingly has no end.) This movement leads immediately to the finale, Thunberg's Children. Greta Thunberg, the young, Swedish climate activist, has lit a fire in her generation that has expanded into all areas of society. This movement is a song of hope for "Generation Z," my daughters' generation, which is taking a proactive role in speaking truth to power about social justice, climate change, and other issues we must face if our species and our world are to survive.
Dispatches from the Anthropocene was written in the spring and summer of 2020 in Laurel, Maryland, and St. Louis, Missouri. I am indebted to Andy Pease, who led the commissioning consortium for Dispatches from the Anthropocene and worked tirelessly as an editor with me as the piece was completed. The work is also dedicated to my daughter, Elena, whose nascent fire, like that of Greta Thunberg's, inspires me daily.
- Program Note by composer
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None discovered thus far.
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- Kent State University (Ohio) Wind Ensemble (David Hassler, conductor) - 7 March 2023
- Hartwick College (Oneonta, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Andy Pease, conductor) – November 16 2021 *Premiere Performance*
- Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Higgins, conductor) - 23 October 2021 *Consortium Performance* (at 1:17:30 in concert recording)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Dispatches from the Anthropocene (2020)
- Fanfares (2004)
- In It Together (2022)
- Last Breaths (2014/2016)
- Symphony: Savage Howls (2011)
- Armando Bayolo website Accessed 10 October 2021
- Pease, Andy. " Dispatches from the Anthropocene by Armando Bayolo." Wind Band Literature, 8 October 2021. Web. Accessed 10 October 2021
- Perusal score