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Symphony III (Archer)

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Kimberly Archer

Kimberly Archer

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Subtitle: For David

General Info

Year: 2007
Duration: c. 33:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Unpublished
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Contact composer


1. Ominous, with building intensity – 6:20
2. Song for David – 10:40
3. Aggressive – 4:10
4. Warm and Serene – 10:00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
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-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

It all began on the couch in the summer of 2006, at what we affectionately call "Camp David," or "The Summer Retreat for Stressed Composers and Conductors." Kim had just completed her first year of teaching at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and I had finished my first year at Central High School in La Crosse, Wisconsin. We were both exhausted in every sense of the word, and looking to David [Maslanka] for guidance and rejuvenation. I drove to Missoula, MT, and spent a week on David’s couch; Kim flew in from St. Louis and took the guest room.

Our meeting was a coincidence, inasmuch as anything involving David can ever be called that. When we arrived, she had not heard of me or of the Central Wind Ensemble, and I had never programmed any of her music. But you know, when you share a bathroom with a complete stranger for a week … well, you get to know one another.

During that week, David put us on his version of a vegetarian diet, which meant we also had no contact with wheat, and certainly not with caffeine. To this day, we both crave spelt flour and mineral water & apple juice cocktails. We each had lessons with David, and many long, mountainous hikes. Kim and I took an extended trip to Glacier National Park, and frequented the local Missoula coffee shops (we had to have a caffeine fix), where we’d spend hours composing, studying, and talking. We both practiced breathing and attended a Buddhist Walking Meditation and Tea Ceremony with David and Alison. We also met the rest of the Maslanka family of "critters," one of whom – Agnes, the 21-year-old cat – was upset that I took over her home on the couch!

The three of us listened to and shared thoughts on music frequently. One evening we listened to David’s Black Dog Songs, a song cycle for baritone and piano. It was an electric musical moment: one of those you don’t EVER forget. The music affected everyone in the room, and especially Kim, who was sitting next to me on the couch. I was taken by the whole event, perhaps because at the time, I don’t think I "got it." However, it was at that point I knew Kim was the composer to commission for our first consortium, in a series, from the La Crosse High Schools. She did "get it." And to this day, we still talk about that powerful night.

Since Camp David, Kim and I have shared hundreds of phone calls and e-mails. We speak frequently about our respective professions and views on music, composing, conducting, life, Battlestar Galactica, cooking, you name it. Our meeting and our friendship certainly don’t seem coincidental anymore.

The commission for Symphony no. 3 or "the piece," as we called it for a long time, was designed as the most open-ended commission our consortium could allow. No instrumental specifications, no time restraints, not much limit on difficulty. The commission could have easily resulted in anything from a two-minute fanfare to an hour-long concerto. We started talking about "the piece" in the fall of 2006, and Kim made a special visit to La Crosse in early 2007 to see and hear the Central Wind Ensemble, and to meet the students. It’s been fascinating to observe a composer’s process, and to watch the music gradually take shape over the course of a year.

Kim asked early on if "the piece" could be dedicated to David. For as much as David has meant to all of us involved in the genesis of Symphony no. 3 – and for as deeply as Kim and I cherish his mentorship, his music, his friendship, and his freakish Scrabble-playing prowess – my answer was an immediate and resounding "absolutely!" As David later wrote to Kim (albeit not knowing yet that the work is dedicated to him), "Your symphony already has me in it in a big way." Yes, that’s absolutely true, and we knew it before she’d put the first note on paper.

Someday soon, I will return to Missoula, have a spelt flour scone, sneak out for coffee, and crash on the couch after a long day. I do hope Kim will be there, and this time, we’ll sit on that couch and listen to Symphony no. 3 with our friend David.

- Program Note by Chris Werner

Commissioned by the Central High School Wind Ensemble and Logan High School Wind Symphony of the La Crosse Public School District, La Crosse, WI, Dr. Christopher Werner and Mr. Mark Lakmann, conductors.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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