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Amazing Grace (Danyew)

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Steve Danyew

Steve Danyew


General Info

Year: 2020
Duration: c. 4:45
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Hymn
Publisher: Steve Danyew
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $99.99; (digital) - $99.99   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe
Bassoon
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (optional)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba I-II
Timpani
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Amazing Grace is one of those songs that has touched nearly everyone in some way. Who among us hasn’t been moved by the stirring stanzas and the soaring melody, sung or played by any number of different instruments? I remember when I was in high school I heard a college marching band play an arrangement of Amazing Grace. At that time I didn’t know the music theory behind the rich harmonies that filled the air, and it didn’t matter. The glorious sound that resonated throughout the stadium was overwhelming -- it is one of those performances that reinforced my love of music, and one I’ll never forget. So when Catherine Rand at the University of Southern Mississippi asked me to create this arrangement in celebration of their band department’s 100th anniversary, I was thrilled.

On January 30, 2020 I sat down to record a few initial ideas for the piece on my cell phone. (I know this because I have a short audio recording on my phone from that date). I was letting those initial ideas and concepts ruminate during February, and in March, the COVID-19 pandemic became our new reality. I finished a few other projects before returning to Amazing Grace in May 2020, in the midst of shutdown and quarantine. Working on Amazing Grace during that time brought me a certain amount of peace that helped me navigate that uncertainty of the pandemic.

Even in January, prior to the pandemic, I had planned to start the piece in a quiet and somewhat mysterious way. I thought that perhaps this could represent several sentiments in the text of Amazing Grace, such as verse three: “Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” So I think the arc of the music reflects this idea of rising out of turmoil, and so the music begins with a certain austerity, which I felt like had to happen in order to create a journey. I also felt like this idea mirrored the hope that we would make it through this global pandemic.

When I read the full text of the hymn early on in my composition process, I was also struck by the imagery and the comfort of the 6th and final verse: “The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; But God, who call’d me here below, will be forever mine.”

- Program Note by composer


Commissioned by the University of Southern Mississippi Bands Department in honor and celebration of their 100th anniversary: Catherine Rand, Director of Bands.

- Program Note from publisher


Media

(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Alabama in Huntsville Wind Ensemble (C. David Ragsdale, conductor) - 25 September 2021
  • University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) Wind Ensemble (Catherine Rand, conductor) - 22 April 2021 *Premiere Performance*


Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music


All Wind Works


Resources