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Symphony V (Walczyk)

From Wind Repertory Project
Kevin Walczyk

Kevin Walczyk


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Subtitle: Freedom from Fear: Images from the Shoreline


General Info

Year: 2018
Duration: c. 39:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Kevin Walcyzk
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Movements

1. The Relinquishing
2. Sands of White and Black
3. Lullaby
4. Sea Crossings - Mother of Exiles


Instrumentation

Wind Ensemble
Jazz Ensemble


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

In a rare fusion of wind and jazz ensembles, the four-movement piece flows among varied musical styles, including classical, Delta blues, jazz improvisation, Syrian folk music and the voices of a soprano and boy soprano.


The symphony was commissioned as a Legacy Project by Reach Out Kansas for the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble I. The donor, James Zakoura, asked me to pursue a programmatic idea that dealt with displaced peoples. My thoughts turned to the global concept of Freedom from Fear, one of the Four Freedoms of which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke in his 1941 inaugural address to the United Nations. His Four Freedoms became so emblematic of the United Nations that they were added to its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This symphony is unified by Roosevelt’s Freedom from Fear as it impacts displaced peoples; each movement represents an image connected to a shoreline.

I. THE RELINQUISHING
The biblical story of the relinquishing of Moses demonstrates the courage of his mother Jochebed, the gift of life she gives to her son, and the Freedom from Fear she gives to herself and her daughter, Miriam. The adopted become displaced, and this relinquishing act is profoundly personal for me since I, my siblings, and my two children are all adopted. The lyrics sung by the woman and child in this movement speak to Courage and Freedom from Fear, and while the lyrics do not specifically reference the account of Moses per se, the concept of adoption speaks to displaced persons. This opening movement establishes the melodic and harmonic motives derived from the ciphered words: Courage and Freedom from Fear. These motives return throughout the symphony to unify the work.

LYRICS
Do not fear! Be strong! Be courageous!
I am with you. I shall neither fail nor forsake you.
I shall not fear! I’m strong! I have courage!
You are with me. You won’t fail nor forsake me
We have silenced the drums of Topheth’s furnace and denied the scourge
of Molech’s crimes.
Fear not! Have courage!
Stand fearless before the roar of oceans...and the swelling pride of the
mountain’s quake.
Take refuge and strength in the sacred haunt’s river of joy. Turmoil has filled my
heart. But
You love me and You have taken my hand! You are the strength of my heart;
You are mine forever! Take me into Glory!
I shall not fear! I’m strong! I have courage!
You are with me. You won’t fail nor forsake me.
Do not fear! Be strong! Be courageous!
I will be with you. I shall neither fail you nor forsake you.

II. SANDS OF WHITE AND BLACK
This movement is a musical couplet with its two shoreline images unified by the concept of segregation. The first is based on a photograph published in a September 1943 Life Magazine article entitled Three Americans. The picture depicts the battle of Buna-Gona in the South Pacific and was the first image of dead Americans that President Roosevelt allowed to be published during World War II. Courage is displayed when soldiers fight to preserve the freedom that others seek to oppress. I see these Americans as displaced; soldiers left on distant shores, willing to sacrifice their freedom, willing to face fear so that others may live without it, fighting a foe who is driven by conquest, discrimination, and segregation. I have ciphered two phrases from the article in Life Magazine, Three Dead Americans and Three Units of Freedom, to serve as the principal pitch structures in this movement.

The second image of this movement, the Battleground for Civil Rights, depicts protesters of the segregated beaches in Biloxi, Mississippi. who participated in “wade-ins” in an effort to desegregate the public beaches. Segregation is the cause of the displacement here. Less than 20 years separate Buna-Gona from the early wade-ins of 1959 and the subsequent wade-ins of the early 1960s. I have used the Civil Rights anthem, We Shall Overcome, throughout sections of this movement and, to speak to its Mississippi locale, have incorporated an abstraction of Delta blues. The movement’s title represents the fight for Freedom from Fear: white soldiers fighting segregation on the black sands of battlefields in the South Pacific and black soldiers of the Civil Rights movement fighting segregation on the white sands of home.

III. LULLABY
This movement takes its inspiration from the image Humanity Washed Ashore and the tragedy of those killed fleeing the violence in Syria. Aylan Kurdi, his five-year-old brother Galip, and his mother Rehan lost their lives when in their attempt to flee as refugees, their boat capsized before reaching the Greek Island of Kos. In this movement, Freedom from Fear manifests itself in the Courage required to relinquish one’s homeland and extended family, while simultaneously risking everything to seek peace. The movement takes its title from the Syrian folksong, Sleep, My Child, a folk song from Aylan’s home city of Aleppo. Some lyrics and brief melodic motives from a second Syrian folksong, Upon Thy Lovely Lips, are also incorporated. I have ciphered the brothers’ names and the words, Sleep, My Child, into music pitches, these are used, along with elements of the folksongs, to create the melodies, harmonies, and modes. A boy soprano represents Aylan, a soprano represents his mother Rehan, and a musical conversation takes place between mother and child. When the lyrics of this lullaby speak to the horror of this image, Aylan’s story transcends the present Syrian conflict and speaks to the Freedom from Fear facing all refugees. This movement suggests Syrian folk music by mimicking traditional instruments such as the qanun, arghul, and ney, and employing the specific tunings associated with them. The middle section of this movement features an intense jazz-like feel that incorporates the rhythmic elements and variant forms of the Syrian Muwashshat, a musical form that, evolving from Arabic poetry, is popular in Aleppo where Aylan’s family originated.

LYRICS
Sleep, my child, my pretty one, and softly dream.
Upon thy lovely lips I’ll dwell, and softly dream.
And there three years did you reign.
Peace, in Him, my pretty one, and softly dream.
Beneath His yoke thy soul shalt rest, and refuge seize.
Where forever more shalt thou reign.
I’d lose my soul without a pang,
what do I care since thou art mine.
‘Twas not thy hand in Molech’s fire,
consigned to flames, my soul’s desire.
Peace, in Him, my pretty one, and softly dream.
Beneath His yoke thy soul shalt rest, and refuge seize.
Where forever more shalt thou reign.
Sleep, Mother, my pretty one, and softly dream.
Upon thy lovely lips I’ll dwell, and softly dream.
Where forever more shalt thou reign.

IV. SEA CROSSINGS - MOTHER OF EXILES
The Statue of Liberty (Mother of Exiles) stands as a beacon of hope, giving the displaced the Courage and Freedom from Fear to relinquish their homeland and start over, adopted by their new country. In this image, a ship arrives at Ellis Island filled with immigrants with Lady Liberty in the background. As with Moses’ story of relinquishment and adoption in the first movement, and Aylan’s journey in the third movement, these displaced peoples leave their homeland, cross the seas, join millions of others displaced by fear, and seek refuge in a new, adopted homeland.

The words Mother of Exiles and Courage, along with portions of the sonnet The New Colossus – penned by Emma Lazarus and inscribed on Lady Liberty’s pedestal, are ciphered into pitches and used throughout the movement. The soprano soloist, representing Lady Liberty, intones those distinguishing words from the sonnet, summoning those from distant lands who would answer her call. The Courage motive, featured throughout the work, returns with the entrance of the soprano. The motive unifies and grows throughout the second half of the symphony’s final movement and builds to a powerful conclusion by suggesting the arrival of new immigrants on Lady Liberty’s shoreline.

LYRICS
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless to me, your tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
All oppressed may enter here,
A refuge in times of trouble.
Be strong and courageous, and enlist preserving unity in the Spirit’s lease.
With Molech’s altars of fear vanquished, there will be peace.
I will be strong, I will show courage.
With Molech’s altars of fear vanquished, there will be peace.

- Program Note by composer


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Paul Popiel, conductor; Jazz Ensemble I) – 18 April 2018 (Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.) *Premiere Performance*
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Paul Popiel, conductor; Jazz Ensemble I) – 18 April 2018


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources