Symphony III (Maslanka)

From Wind Repertory Project
David Maslanka

David Maslanka

General Info

Year: 1991 / 2007
Duration: c. 49:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental   |   Score Only - $95.00


1. Moderate - 8:30
2. Slow - 8:20
3. Very Fast - 8:38
4. Lament - 11:57
5. Lament 10:30


Full Score
C Piccolo I-II
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass 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
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV

  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gongs (5: small to large)
  • Marimba
  • Sizzle Cymbal
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbals (2: small and large)
  • Tam-tam (large)
  • Tambourine
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-toms (2)
  • Triangles (3)
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The largest of David Maslanka's wind symphonies in scale and duration, Symphony No. 3 was commissioned by the University of Connecticut Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Gary Green, conductor, and premiered by them in 1991. It is in five movements and lasts nearly 50 minutes. The moderate tempo and forceful character of the first movement contrast with the serene "nature" music of the second movement. The third movement, a fast and bristling scherzo largely in A Minor, is followed by two slower movements, both labeled "lament." The composer characterizes the music of these movements as both sorrowful and joyful. The fifth movement, in particular, has the lamenting character overcome by an ecstatic vision of natural beauty and the life force.

Symphony No. 3 is arguably Maslanka's most profound and satisfying large-scale work, and it ends in an unequivocal A Major that has the feeling of a benediction.

-Program Note from publisher

Symphony No. 3 was commissioned by the University of Connecticut Wind Ensemble, Gary Green, conductor. I was asked to write a “major” piece yet not necessarily one as big as this. It is hard to say why a given music emerges at a given time. In my composing life there have been “sign-post” pieces – large works that have erupted at fairly regular, though unpredictable, intervals. The impetus for this piece was in part my leaving university life a year ago and moving from New York City to the Rocky Mountains of western Montana. The mountains and the sky are a living presence. Animal and Indian spirits still echo strongly in this land, and these elements have found their way into my music. I am very grateful to Gary Green and the University of Connecticut for sponsoring the composition of Symphony No. 3. I am especially thankful to Gary for his ardent championing of my work in recent years, and for his avid interest in the development of this new piece. His wonderful enthusiasm has sparked the creative process in a special way.

Symphony No. 3 is in five movements and runs approximately 45 minutes. The first movement is in a moderate tempo and follows one of my favorite schemes. It starts with the simplest of scale materials and evolves a steady, unbroken line from start to finish. It is in sonata form, tightly woven in character, giving it something of a Baroque feel. The movement is forceful and unrelenting for most of its duration, but ends quietly.

The second movement is a serene and beautiful “nature” music, mostly for small combinations of instruments. I am intrigued with the magical quality of sustained pure colors. Musical sound is colorful and structural at the same time. I love a music that allows the listener to develop an intense reverie through sustained sounds, while at the same time being carried through the structure of the piece. Time and timelessness join in a powerful way, each informing and illuminating the other.

The third is a fierce and bristling fast movement that maintains its high energy from start to finish. It is also in sonata form. The development section is a fugue which rises in power to a huge climax area. The music is fixed largely in the tonality of A minor: the first and second themes are in A minor, a third theme is in D, but the exposition ends in A minor. The development begins and ends in the home key, as does the recapitulation. This unmoving tonal scheme emerged and would not be derailed, so I had to let it happen. The tonal fixation seems to underline the character of fierce power.

The fourth and fifth movements are both lamentations, though not particularly slow or “down” in spirit. It is hard to describe opposites existing in the same space and time. The music is joyous yet sorrowful, recognizing the complementary nature of life and death. These movements – indeed the entire Symphony – have grown out of my perceptions of natural forces, especially the strong currents of old life that exist here in Montana. The music is a lamentation for the loss of the old direct contact with the life of the Earth, yet a recognition that these value still exist and can be brought back into meaningful focus.

The fourth movement does not have an easily-labeled traditional form. The music moves through a series of song-like episodes, much as one might move through mountain meadows and across hills, natural vistas of great beauty appearing and dissolving as one goes. About two-thirds of the way through is the song of the “Golden Light”.

The fifth movement might be called “Song for a Summer Day.” The character of lament is there, but the creative winds rise and bring an ecstatic vision of natural beauty and life force. The movement ends with the lament transformed into a song of quiet joy.

- Program note by David Maslanka

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Maslanka, D. (2007). Symphony no. 3 for Symphonic Wind Ensemble [score]. C. Fischer: New York.
  • David Maslanka website