Symphony VI (Maslanka)

From Wind Repertory Project
David Maslanka

David Maslanka

N.B. This symphony was written for symphony orchestra, which this page reflects. A wind band transcription may be in the works in 2021-2022.

Subtitle: Living Earth

General Info

Year: 2004
Duration: c. 35:00
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: David Maslanka
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental


1. Living Earth 1 - 10:29
2. Rain - 7:32
3. November – Geese on the Wing - 3:27
4. Dreamer - 7:28
5. Living Earth 2 - 5:49


Full Score
Flute I-II-III (I doubling Piccolo)
Bassoon I-II-III
Clarinet in B♭ I-II-III (III doubling E-flat Soprano Clarinet)
Bass Clarinet
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trumpet I-II-III (I doubling Flugelhorn)
Trombone I-II-III
Double Bass
Percussion I-I-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Tree
  • Cabasa
  • Chimes
  • Crotales
  • Egg Shaker (or other small shaker)
  • Gongs (small to large)
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Rain Tree (small)
  • Sizzle Cymbal
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbals (2: small and large)
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-tam
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone

Violin I-II


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

From my childhood on I have felt an extremely strong connection to place. It took a lot of years for me to understand this connection and to have the energy from it come forward in my music. I now believe that the earth is a living thing, and that humans are one part of its consciousness. I have been aware of a powerful “voice of the earth” for many years, and especially in my adopted western Montana. The voice speaks of both a powerful life force and impending disaster. I had a small epiphany a couple of years ago; something spoke in my mind that the earth would not be destroyed by human hands. Even if I made this up it is still a good idea! One of my life axioms is that there is no progress without crisis, and there is crisis to go through before we come to a right relationship with the planet. The new symphony is my expression of hope for that right relationship.

I don’t plan out music intellectually. I have to know a lot in order to write a symphony, but that knowledge is for the sake of allowing something to speak which is beyond my intellect. In the same way that I have been drawn to place, I have also been drawn to the chorales of J.S. Bach, a purely intuitive coming together. The Bach chorales are much like the arrangements of sacred melodies found in hymnals, except that Bach wrote better alto, tenor and bass parts! The melodies themselves are much older than Bach, having sources that literally go back thousands of years. Like all folk melodies they are the products of generations of singers working with the same melody ideas, and finally arriving at simple tunes that embody a huge life force. These are now melodies of the earth. For a number of years now I have brought them into my music where they have acted as a springboard for my imagination, and an open path for the bigger voice that wants to speak through me. I often feel that the chorale melodies select themselves to be in a particular piece, and in retrospect I can see that they will add to the music a subtext of meaning all their own. There are six chorale melodies in the symphony:

  1. Living Earth 1
    • How empty, how fleeting…
    • Only trust in God to guide you
  2. Rain
    • From heaven above I come…
  3. November – Geese on the Wing
    • O how blessed
  4. Dreamer
    • Jesus Christ, our Savior…
  5. Living Earth 2
    • My soul exalts the Lord

What the story is in all of this I will leave up to you! A small quote from Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann has been with me for a long time. In it Mann describes Eliezer, the tribal story teller and oral historian: “…the old man’s ego was not clearly demarcated … it opened at the back, as it were, and overflowed into spheres that were external to his own individuality both in space and in time; embodying in his own experience events which, remembered and related in the clear light of day, ought actually to have been put in the third person….”

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) and Appalachian Symphony Orchestra (James Allen Anderson, conductor) - 1 August 2006

Works for Winds by This Composer