When Speaks the Signal Trumpet Tone
Subtitle: Concertino for Solo Trumpet and Wind Orchestra
Movements (played without pause)
1. When stride the warriors of the storm
2. By angel hands to valor given
3. Shall thy proud stars resplendent shine
Solo Trumpet (Trumpet in C, Flugelhorn, A Piccolo Trumpet)
C Piccolo/Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III, including:
- Bass Drum
- Brake Drum
- Crash Cymbals
- Snare Drum
- Suspended Cymbal
None discovered thus far.
It is said that perhaps the greatest Americans are the ones who fought in the most intense and important battle of the 20th century, World War II. Some survivors are still living and can be credited with transforming America and shaping the rest of that century. These are men who are humbling examples of what America stands for and a living reminder of the price of freedom. The composer has dedicated this work with great respect and honor to those who died in that war and to those who survived its many horrors.
The trumpet has long been used as a method of signaling in the military. In previous centuries it was used prominently in battles. Thus, the solo trumpet in this work "signals" the moods of three perspectives of World War II: battle, death, and victory. The title of this work and its subsequent movements, as well as much of the inspiration, has come from a poem written in 1819 by Joseph Rodman Drake entitled The American Flag.
The three movements or sections of When Speaks the Signal-Trumpet Tone are continuous without pause. Movement I, When stride the warriors of the storm begins with a slow introductory section featuring undulating thirds in the winds, various percussion colors, and rather militaristic motivic material in the solo trumpet. A "presto" section follows with an angular solo trumpet line accompanied by dissonant harmonic material coupled with the metallic articulations of the hi-hat. A contrasting secondary theme balances the movement with longing expressiveness which perhaps is suggestive of the homesickness of the G.I. alone on the foreign battlefield. The movement is summarized in the words of Joseph Rodman Drake:
To hear the tempest-tramping loud,
And see the lightning-lances driven,
When stride the warriors of the storm,
And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven!
By angel hands to valor given, the second movement, begins with a snare drum roll followed by a solemn tom-tom. The movement is designed to evoke the image of a funeral procession to a military cemetery for the burial of a fallen comrade. Solo flugelhorn aptly shapes the melodic dirge. Toward the end of the movement a sweet, yet mournful melody emerges eulogizing the fallen comrade and signifying that he is again "home":
Flag of the free heart's hope and home
By angel hands to valor given!
Thy starts have lit the welkin dome,
And all thy hues were born in heaven!
The final movement, Shall thy proud stars resplendent shine, should evoke feelings of joy, victory, and patriotism. The ascending pentachords in the solo piccolo trumpet, with the four-note motive comprised of a perfect fifth followed by a descending second, are the basis for most of the melodic material of the movement. Contrasting this main thematic material in a sort of rondo-like structure is a chorale, heard only by the wind orchestra throughout the movement, which hopefully carries all the emotion and glory of victory:
And fixed as yonder orb divine,
That saw thy bannered blaze unfurled,
Shall thy proud starts resplendent shine,
The guard and glory of the world.
This piece was commissioned by Dwight Satterwhite and the University of Georgia Bands, and written for orchestral winds, piano, and specifically for W. Fred Mills as trumpet soloist. It was first premiered on March 30, 1999, at the University of Georgia. While the second movement was written for flugelhorn, Mr. Mills has performed and recorded this movement on the corno di caccia. Similar to an orchestral horn in its overall shape, the corno di caccia is more conical than the flugelhorn, creating a more somber and mellow tone. Mr. Mills feels this timbre to be appropriate for the eulogizing melody of the second movement. The resulting musical production is truly gripping and communicates well the mournful intent of the composer.
- Program Note by composer
None discovered thus far.
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor; Keith Benjamin, trumpet) – 16 November 2017
- California State University, Long Beach, Wind Symphony (Jermie Arnold, conductor; Tom Hooten, trumpet) – 28 April 2016
Works for Winds by this Composer
- Abiquiu (2010)
- Aerodynamics (2003)
- All Hail the Power with Jack Stamp, Timothy Mahr, Joseph Pappas and Andrew Boysen, Jr. (2002)
- And Can It Be? (2000)
- Angels of the Apocalypse (2013)
- Apocalyptic Dreams (1995)
- At Morning's First Light (2004)
- Au Sable River Festival (2002)
- Be Thou My Vision (1999)
- Beneath the Sacred Light (2015)
- Bright Gleams a Beacon (2012)
- Cantus Laetus (2001)
- Century Variants (2009)
- Concertino for Four Percussion and Wind Ensemble (1997)
- Concerto for Euphonium, Winds and Percussion (2006)
- Concerto for Woodwind Quintet and Wind Ensemble (1984/2006)
- Concerto No. 2 for Marimba and Wind Ensemble (2008)
- Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Wind Orchestra (2004)
- Council Oak (2002)
- Crest of Honor (2005)
- Echo Never Fades, The (2004)
- Foster's America (2003)
- Foundations (2017)
- Galactic Empires (1998)
- Heroes Lost and Fallen (1990)
- Homage (2012)
- Home Again (2016)
- Internal Combustion (1999)
- Kentucky Home (2012)
- Light Unto the Darkness, A (1997)
- New Century Dawn (1999)
- No Shadow of Turning (2005)
- Point of Reckoning (arr. Daughtrey) (2015)
- Providence (2003)
- Quintessence I (1997)
- Quintessence II (2006)
- Radiant Moonbeams (2007)
- Serenade for Winds and Percussion (2000)
- Song Shall Never End, The (2014)
- Sub-Saharan Rhythm (1998)
- Symphony No. 2 (2007)
- Vintage (1990)
- Waking Angels (1997)
- When Speaks the Signal Trumpet Tone (1999)
- While the Dew is Still on the Roses (2013)
- With Heart and Voice (2000)
- Gillingham, D. (1999) When Speaks the Signal – Trumpet Tone: Concertino for Solo Trumpet and Wind Orchestra [score]. C. Alan Publications: Greensboro, N.C.