Silent Moves the Symphony True
Duration: c. 11:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Solo C Trumpet
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:
- Bass Drum
- Suspended Cymbal
- Tom-Toms (4)
None discovered thus far.
Today’s performance of DiOrio’s Silent Moves the Symphony True is the world première of this special work, which was co-commissioned by the United States Marine Band and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, with the generous support of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, to celebrate the bicentennial of American poet Walt Whitman’s birth. The Marine Band had a direct connection to Whitman during the Civil War and beyond. He lived in Washington, D.C., for a decade, working as a hospital volunteer during the war and then staying until about 1873. This was one of his most fruitful periods as a poet, during which he published two editions of his seminal work Leaves of Grass. Also being an avid and learned music-lover, Whitman attended many public Marine Band concerts during his time in the nation’s capital. Several published music reviews written by Whitman about those performances appeared in city newspapers and revealed his deep affinity for both the operatic transcriptions as well as the rough-hewn patriotic music that often rang from the band’s cornets and clarinets through the sweltering city during that tumultuous time. Whitman’s visceral love of music most certainly informed the pulse, meter, and texture of his remarkable poetry, and he often invoked very specific musical images in his works.
The collection of texts chosen for DiOrio’s new work reflect Whitman’s innate musicianship and are an homage both to the contributions of this inimitable American poet as well as the inextricable and organic confluence of music and word that defines so much of our American artistic identity. The composer offers the following foreword in the score to Silent Moves the Symphony True:
I wouldn’t be writing music today if it were not for my high school band director: Marty Claussen. I was a shy and introverted fourteen-year old, more likely to take part in chess club and math team than a music ensemble. I had taken private piano lessons with my mother from age seven, so I had some musical training, but I had never taken part in a chorus, band, or orchestra. That was a far too social activity for my young and timid self! So when choosing my courses, I decided to enroll in a music theory class during my first year of high school. That seemed quite safe … I could interact with chords and scales instead of people.
Little did I know that one day, Marty would hear me playing piano before class and come up to me and introduce himself. He said: “That sounds really good. You know…you should play the marimba.” “What’s a marimba?” I replied.
Thus began a journey of coming out of my shell, being exposed to the joy of music-making in bands and choruses, and to my first forays into improvisation and eventually composition. Marty Claussen and my high school choral director Ellen Bosch lit a fire under me that eventually led to undergraduate study in composition and graduate study in choral conducting. This combination of skills has made me what I am today: a unique hybrid composer-conductor with a strong desire to write beautiful, expressive, and rhythmic vocal and instrumental music.
When Colonel Jason Fettig and Scott Tucker approached me to write a new work for the joint forces of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, I knew that I wanted to create a work that combined the best sounds of both genres: the hushed pianissimo cluster chords and declamatory fortissimos that choruses do so well, and the grand sweep of lyric wind and brass lines -- the pulsating underpinning of drums and mallets -- of the band. The very same marimbas, vibraphones, and crotales that I knew nothing about at fourteen have now become a staple of my sound world.
That sound world is on display here with a text I’ve adapted from four works of Walt Whitman, in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth. The “proud music of the storm” is combined with the curious tones of the mystic trumpeter -- here an actual soloist -- to create a narrative arch in service to the great joy of music. Do not be fooled by the title: while there are certainly moments of silence to behold in this work, I instead chose to emphasize the “symphony true,” with a rousing, proud, and joyous ‘sounding together.’
I dedicate this piece to the commissioners and the great musicians under their care: “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Choral Arts Society of Washington, with gratitude to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation for their support. And I also fondly dedicate the work to Marty Claussen and to Ellen Bosch, who both first instilled in me a love for making music with others.
Texts by Walt Whitman
Adapted from “Proud Music of the Storm”
Proud music of the storm! … Wind of the mountains!
Personified dim shapes! you hidden orchestras!
You serenades of phantoms, with instruments alert,
Blending, with Nature’s rhythmus, all the tongues of nations;
You chords left us by vast composers! you choruses!
Give me to hold all sounds,
Fill me with all the voices of the universe,
The tempests, waters, winds—operas and chants—marches and dances, v Utter—pour in—for I would take them all.
Adapted from “The Mystic Trumpeter”
HARK! some wild trumpeter—some strange musician,
Hovering unseen in air, vibrates capricious tunes to-night.
I hear thee, trumpeter—listening, alert, I catch thy notes,
Now pouring, whirling like a tempest round me,
Now low, subdued-—now in the distance lost.
“After the Dazzle of Day”
After the dazzle of day is gone,
Only the dark, dark night shows to my eyes the stars;
After the clangor of organ majestic, or chorus, or perfect band,
Silent, athwart my soul, moves the symphony true.
Adapted from “For You, O Democracy”
I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
I will make inseparable cities...
For you, O Democracy,
For you, for you I am trilling these songs.
Adapted from “The Mystic Trumpeter”
Now, trumpeter, for thy close,
Vouchsafe a higher strain than any yet;
Sing to my soul—renew its languishing faith and hope;
Give me, for once, its prophecy and joy.
O glad, exulting, culminating song!
War, sorrow, suffering gone—
The ocean fill’d with joy—the atmosphere all joy!
Joy! Joy! in freedom, worship, love! Joy in the ecstasy of life
Joy! Joy! all over Joy!
- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 11 March 2019
- Audio: recording. United States Marine Band and Choral Arts Society of Washington (Jason K. Fettig, conductor)
None discovered thus far.
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- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) and Choral Arts Society of Washington (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) - 11 March 2019 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer