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Sketches on a Tudor Psalm

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Fisher Tull

Fisher Tull


General Info

Year: 1971
Duration: 11:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $125.00   |   Score Only - $20.50


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
Celesta
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tenor Drum
  • Timbales
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Whip
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


Errata

The following errors are in the SCORE

  • Eb Clarinet, m.62-64, add rests
  • Bb Bass Clarinet, m.300, add a tenuto mark to beat 3.
  • Bb Contrabass Clarinet, m.187, add tenuto marks / m.188, add the fermata, m.300, add a tenuto mark to beat 3
  • Trumpet I-II, m.34-35, add an eighth note rest on beat 1.
  • Horn I, m.57, the A-natural should be an A-flat on beat 4.
  • Horn III & 4, m.108-109, add rests to the measures.
  • Trombone, 1, 2, & 3, m.63, add rests.
  • Baritone, m.63, add rests.
  • Tuba, m.63, add rests / m.285, second half note should be C-flat not C-natural.


Program Notes

Sketches on a Tudor Psalm, composed in 1971, is based on a sixteenth-century setting of the Second Psalm by Thomas Tallis. The original version was in the Phrygian mode with the melody in the tenor voice. A modern adaptation is still used today in Anglican services. Its popularity is evidenced by its employment by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the basis of his Fantasia for String Orchestra in 1910.

The introduction sets the harmonic character by emphasizing the juxtaposition of major and minor triads. The theme is first presented by solo alto saxophone, continued by horns, and followed by a fully harmonized version from the brass. The variations begin to unfold in an Allegro section with a melody in the clarinets which was constructed from the retrograde of the theme. Subsequently, fragments of the theme are selected for rhythmic and melodic transformation. Finally, the opening harmonic sequence returns in highly punctuated rhythms to herald the recapitulation of the theme beginning in the low woodwinds and culminating in a fully scored setting of the climactic measures. A coda continues the development as the music builds to a triumphal close on a major chord.

- Program Note by Fisher Tull


Fisher Tull's scholarly self-analysis of his Sketches on a Tudor Psalm, composed in 1971, includes commentary on his evolution as a composer and the motivation behind the work. He writes:

"Encouraged by the acceptance of Toccata (the 1970 A.B.A. Ostwald winner), I was motivated to try my hand at another band work in theme-and-variation form similar to Variations on an Advent Hymn. I considered using a number of tunes found in the Episcopal Hymnal, but always seemed to gravitate to Thomas Tallis's setting of the second psalm. My reluctance to finalize this choice was caused by the awareness that Ralph Vaughan Williams had used the same material for his Fantasia for Double String Orchestra (1910), a work with which I was quite familiar. Nonetheless, against the advice of some of my colleagues, I decided to take the plunge."

Tull's beautiful and haunting Sketches introduce the theme with a solo alto saxophone, later punctuated by horns and fully harmonized by the brass. He skillfully develops six motifs built upon major and minor triads using variations of tempo, rhythm and instrumental timbre. The major climax of the piece occurs before the end in a recapitulation of the theme, peaking in intensity. Largamente and scherzando sections conclude the final chord.

- Program Note by Roy Stahle for the Foothill Symphonic Winds concert program, 8 December 2013


Media


State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • New York: VI
  • Texas: V


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Orchestra (Beth Peterson, conductor) – 28 February 2020
  • Oklahoma City (Okla.) University Wind Philharmonic (Matthew Mailman, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Symphony (David A. Waybright, conductor) – 20 February 2020
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) – 20 November 2019
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Shawn Vondran, conductor) – 25 October 2019
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Arau, conductor) – 19 October 2019
  • University of Manitoba (Winnipeg) Wind Ensemble (Jan Michael Bourgeois, conductor) – 18 October 2019
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Concert Band (Benjamin Rochford, conductor) – 14 October 2019
  • Treasure Coast Wind Ensemble (Vero Beach, Fla.) (Colbert Page Howell, conductor) – 7 June 2019
  • Quad City Wind Ensemble (Davenport, Iowa) (Brian Hughes, conductor) – 11 May 2019
  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) Symphony Band (Polly Middleton, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Cleveland State University (Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Birch Browning, conductor) – 11 April 2019
  • Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Craig V. Hamilton, conductor) – 4 March 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Hindsley Symphonic Band (Anthony Messina, conductor) – 3 March 2019
  • University of Wyoming (Laramie) Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony (Bob Belser, conductor) – 28 February 2019
  • Northern Illinois University (DeKalb) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Manfredo, conductor) – 28 February 2019
  • Butler University (Indianapolis, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Noah Leininger, conductor) – 23 February 2019
  • CBDNA Small Band Programs Intercollegiate Band (Tempe, Ariz.) (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 23 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.)
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Honors Wind Symphony (Russel C. Mikkelson, conductor) – 20 January 2019


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • Fisher Tull website
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp.690-701.