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Serenity

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Ola Gjeilo

Ola Gjeilo (trans. Wilson)


General Info

Year: 2014
Duration: c. 5:25
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $85.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
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-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Piano
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Crotales
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Within the wind band community, the name of Norwegian composer and pianist Ola Gjeilo might not be immediately familiar. He is, however, an emergent star in the realm of choral compositions, with a host of works and several studio albums of his works including a critically acclaimed 2013 release by the Phoenix Chorale entitled Northern Lights. His wind band works have a choral connection as well; his Meridian has an optional featured part for mixed chorus, and The Spheres is an arrangement of the opening “Kyrie” movement of his Sunrise Mass.

Serenity also owes its origins to a choral work of the same name. Originally cast for mixed chorus and solo string instrument (either violin or cello), the piece sets the text of the responsorial chant “O magnum mysterium” from the Christmas Matins liturgy. The text is one that celebrates new life with hopefulness, and composers who have set these words famously (from Renaissance masters William Byrd and Tomás Luis de Victoria to living composers like Morten Lauridsen) have often filled their musical presentations with resplendent optimism.

O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum
ut animalia viderent
Dominum natum
iacentem in praesepio.
Beata virgo, cuius viscera
meruerunt portare
Doniinum Christum. Alleluia!

O great mystery
and wonderful sacrament
that animals should see
the newborn Lord
lying in a manger.
Blessed is the virgin, whose womb
was worthy to carry
Christ the Lord. Alleluia!

This version for wind band, arranged by Dr. Eric Wilson (Baylor University Director of Bands) and the composer, maintains all the wonder of the original despite the absence of text. The opening is ethereal and somber, with sustained chords in clarinets, trombones, and bowed percussion supporting a delicate oboe solo (taking on the role of the obbligato string part from the original). The harmonic motion of this first section is thoroughly patient, with a careful placidity. The middle portion of the piece shifts the principal modality from minor to major, and, while the supporting harmonies move no more quickly than before, the layering orchestration and rising tessitura give birth to a tremendous rush of energy that reaches a moment of triumphant catharsis before receding. The closing section of the piece returns to the timbre of the opening, but now painted with hopefulness and healing, having been granted a sensation of peace.

- Program Note by Jacob Wallace for the Baylor Wind Ensemble concert program, 19 December 2014


With Serenity, I wanted to write a cappella music that has a symphonic, abundant feel. This is the case with quite a few of my more recent choral works, such as Dark Night of the Soul, Agnus Dei: Phoenix, and The Spheres. I love and often long for a big, lush sound that can give a sense of space and evocativeness, but still be intimate, somehow.

- Program Note by composer


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Audio Links


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Symphonic Band (Matthew O. Smith, conductor) – 17 November 2020
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Band (Weston Lewis, conductor) – 10 March 2020
  • Fresno State (Calif.) Symphonic Band (Steven McKeithen, conductor) -15 March 2019 (2019 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor) – 10 March 2019
  • Arkansas (Farmington) Winds Community Concert Band (Michael Ferguson, conductor) – 2 March 2019
  • University of Ottawa (Ont.) Wind Ensemble (Daniel Gress, conductor) – 7 February 2019
  • California State University, Bakersfield, Wind Ensemble (Len Sakomoto, conductor) - 5 May 2018
  • Shenandoah Conservatory (Winchester, Va.) Concert Band (Brian T. Harris, conductor) - 24 April 2018
  • Florida International University (Miami) Symphonic Band (Barry Bernhardt, conductor) – 19 April 2018
  • Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Terry Austin, conductor) – 21 February 2018
  • El Cerrito (Calif.) High School Wind Ensemble (Keith Johnson, conductor) - 15 February 2018 (2018 CASMEC Conference, San Jose)
  • Indiana State University Wind Symphony (Nikk Pilato, conductor) - 15 February 2018
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (David Thornton, conductor) – 24 October 2017
  • Royal Netherlands Army Band ‘Johan Willem Friso’ (Netherlands) (Tijmen Botma, conductor) – 18 July 2017 - WASBE Conference (Utrecht, Netherlands)
  • Penn State University (University Park) Concert Band (Gregory Drane, conductor) – 26 April 2017
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, University Band (Timothy Ellison, conductor) – 30 November 2016
  • Golden State Wind Orchestra (Sacramento, Calif.) (Marlon A. Ramirez, conductor) – 11 June 2016
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Arau, conductor ) - 3 June 2016
  • Elk Grove (Ill.) High School (Ron Fiorito, Jr., conductor) – 28 April 2016
  • University of Texas (Austin) Symphony Band (Ryan S. Kelly, conductor) – 4 April 2016
  • University of Colorado Boulder Symphonic Band (Matthew Roeder, conductor)– 3 February 2016


Works for Winds by this Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Ubi Caritas (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Kotovsky) (2007/2016/2020)


All Wind Works


References

  • Ola Gjeilo website.
  • Smith, Matthew O. "Serenity." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 418-423. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.