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Automatic Earth, The

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Steven Bryant

Steven Bryant

General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 30:05
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Gorilla Salad
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $15.00; (digital) - $550.00   |   Mvts IV and V only (digital) $300.00   |   Score Only (digital) - $100.00

Movements (played without pause)

1. A Slow Fire - 4:50
2. Days of Miracle and Wonder - 4:15
3. Shining of Shadow - 8:23
4. The Automatic Earth - 7:13
5. The Language of Light - 4:45


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals (suspended, large and small)
  • Crotales
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong
  • Marimba
  • Sandpaper Blocks
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tom-Toms (medium and low)
  • Vibraphone

Recorded sounds
Lighting effects


Extensive errata notes may be found here.

Program Notes

Our way of life is unsustainable, therefore it will not continue. The Automatic Earth weaves together two threads: the climate crisis and the technological transformation of what it is to be human. The tandem acceleration of technological wonder and ecological catastrophe means, at best, a strange unrecognizable future, likely within our own lifetimes. I do not know if we will survive as a species: If we continue as we are now, the average world temperature will increase around 8 degrees C within 80 years, which would result in runaway warming and a Venus-like atmosphere that virtually no life on earth can withstand. If we do survive, it will be via monumental feats of geo-engineering and human re-engineering, surpassed only by an extraordinary change in our willingness to cooperate with each other. Humanity will be forever altered. This way of life will die. The question is whether or not we will die with it.

- Program Note by composer

The warming effect of increasing carbon dioxide takes decades to influence the planet’s temperature. Even if we cut all emissions today, we are still set for a temperature rise, due to the cumulative effect of the climate. To meet a goal of 1.5 °C warming, this demands immediately cutting the planet’s emissions to 45% below 2010 levels by 2030.

If the global temperature rises by 1.5°C, humans will face unprecedented climate-related risks and weather events. We are on track for a 3-4°C temperature rise.

- 2018 IPCC report

We have to keep 80 percent of the fossil-fuel reserves that we know about underground. If we don’t — if we dig up the coal and oil and gas and burn them — we will overwhelm the planet’s physical systems, heating the Earth far past the red lines drawn by scientists and governments. It’s not ‘we should do this,’ or ‘we’d be wise to do this.’ Instead it’s simpler: ‘We have to do this.’”

- Bill McKibben, Yes! Magazine, 15 February 2016

We shall best understand the probable course of natural selection by taking the case of a country undergoing some physical change, for instance, of climate. The proportional numbers of its inhabitants would almost immediately undergo a change, and some species might become extinct.

- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

Over the dark mountain, over the dark pinewood,
Down the long dark valley along the shrunken river,
Returns the splendor without rays, the shining of shadow,
Peace-bringer, the matrix of all shining and quieter of

Where the shore widens on the bay she opens dark wings
And the ocean accepts her glory. O soul worshipful of her
You like the ocean have grave depths where she dwells
And the film of waves above that takes the sun takes also
Her, with more love. The sun-lovers have a blond favorite,
A father of lights and noises, wars, weeping and laughter,
Hot labor, lust and delight and the other blemishes.
Flows from her deeper fountain; and he will die; and she is

- Robinson Jeffers, Night

It was a dry wind
And it swept across the desert
And it curled into the circle of birth
And the dead sand
Falling on the children
The mothers and the fathers
And the automatic earth

- Paul Simon, The Boy in the Bubble

“A strange new light can be as frightening as the dark.”

- Dolores Abernathy, Westworld


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

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Ryan Kelly, conductor) – 16 November 2022
  • Abilene (Tx.) Christian University Wind Ensemble (Steven Ward, conductor) - 21 April 2022
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) - 15 November 2021
  • San Diego (Calif.) State University Wind Symphony (Shannon Kitelinger, conductor) - 23 April 2021
  • Tarleton State University (Stephenville, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (David Robinson, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • CBDNA Southwestern Division Intercollegiate Band (Norman, Okla.) (Gary Green, conductor) – 22 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southwestern Division Conference, Norman, Okla.)
  • University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Stephen Abeshima, conductor) – 5 December 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 25 November 2019
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Concert Winds (Robert Taylor, conductor) – 22 November 2019
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • University of North Florida (Jacksonville) Wind Symphony (Erin Bodnar, conductor) - 17 November 2019
  • University of Illinois at Chicago Wind Ensemble (José Oliver Riojas, conductor) – 19 October 2019
  • Associação Recreativa Musical Amigos da Branca (Portugal) (Paulo Martins, conductor) – 13 July 2019 - WASBE Conference (Buñol, Spain)
  • World Youth Wind Orchestra Project (WYWOP) (Schladming, Austria) (Gary Hillt, conductor) – 13 July 2019
  • Bowling Green (Ohio) State University Concert Band (Bruce Moss, conductor) – 3 May 2019
  • Arizona State University (Tempe) Wind Ensemble (Gary Hill, conductor) – 22 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.) *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works