This work is the second movement of the composer's Symphony No. 3, 'Shaker Life'."
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV-V
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
(percussion detail desired)
None discovered thus far.
For his 1997 composition Circular Marches, composer Dan Welcher has drawn on the lore of the Shakers, an extinct religious sect that flourished in America from the 18th to the early 20th century. Formally called the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, the Shakers stemmed from a radical branch of English Quakers, who performed ritual practices of shaking, shouting, dancing, whirling, and singing in tongues. The Shaker doctrine espoused a lifestyle devoted to productive labor and perfection, and its influence is still felt today in American folk art, music and architecture.
About Circular Marches, Dan Welcher writes, Circular Marches is a companion piece to my Laboring Songs, written earlier in the same year. Like Laboring Songs, Circular Marches is named for a certain kind of worship that was practiced by the Shakers. A circular march was a kind of elaborately choreographed patterned march, almost like a square dance, or even a halftime show in contemporary secular usage. The vocal band would stay in place, singing a certain kind of marching song, while other worshipers executed wheels-within-wheels, counter-marches, and other elaborate patterns, often so detailed and difficult that outsiders were amazed at the memory required. (The “marching” was more often akin to dancing, but since the Shakers did not allow the latter kind of activity, they referred to it as marching.)
The first music that is heard is the “Shaker Shout,” a kind of call to worship. Some of the music is the quoted Shaker melody, The Sealed Promise, Come Contentment, Lovely Guest. The work concludes with antiphonal Shaker Shouts with a spirit of unbounded joy.
- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music
- Audio CD: United States Air Force Band (Lowell E. Graham, conductor) - 2008
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 6 April 2016
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Arches (1985)
- Castle Creek (1989/2009)
- Downshifting (2014)
- For the Mystic Harmony (2017)
- Glacier (2003)
- Hauntings (1986)
- Perpetual Song (2008)
- Songs Without Words (2001/2007)
- Spumante (1998/1999)
- Symphony No. 3, "Shaker Life" (1997)
- Symphony No. 4, "American Visionary" (2005)
- Symphony No. 6, "Three Places in the East" (2017)
- Minstrels of the Kells (2002)
- Upriver (2011)
- The Yellowstone Fires (1998)
- Zion (1994)
- Dan Welcher website
- Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Dan Welcher." Accessed 5 September 2015.
- Welcher, D. (2006). Circular Marches : For Large Wind Ensemble : Movement II from Symphony No. 3 "Shaker life" [score]. Elkan-Vogel: King of Prussia, Penn.