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Fortress of the Rose

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Reber Clark

Reber Clark

General Info

Year: 2009
Duration: c. 7:35
Difficulty: IV-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Hymns
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $90.00   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00


Full Score
C Piccolo I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
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-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Harp (optional)
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Fortress of the Rose was commissioned by the Concordia University Chicago Wind Symphony and the Concordia University Nebraska Wind Ensemble. It is dedicated to my wife Lee Ann.

Ein’ feste Burg was our wedding processional. The work is a fantasy on Ein’ feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) by Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming), a 16th century traditional German melody. The work concerns Luther’s time -- after the Edict of Worms through his time at Coburg castle in the Bavarian wilderness and the end of the Augsburg Diet, in which he first published his hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God and first conceived of and drew up the Lutheran Rose -- a visual summation of his theology.

As the reigning authority sought to imprison and silence Luther (through the Edict of Worms in which Luther was declared an outlaw who could be killed by anyone without prosecution), Frederick III (the “Wise”) Elector of Saxony “kidnapped” him (probably with Luther’s consent) and stashed him at the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach where Luther completed, in eleven weeks, his translation of the New Testament from the Greek to what would become New High German. Just after publishing his definitive edition of Ein’ Feste Burg, Luther moved to Coburg Castle in the Bavarian wilderness a few miles from the Augsburg Diet. During this time, as the plague arrived in Coburg, Luther created his sigil, the Luther Rose, which encapsulated his theology. His departure from Coburg coincided with the arrival in 1531 of what would later be named Halley’s Comet.

The work attempts to be a verse by verse descriptive fantasy on the hymn Ein' Feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) by Martin Luther (1483-1546) combined with Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming), a 16th century traditional German melody. Fortress of the Rose tries to capture the progression of ideas and relationships present in the poetry of both the hymn and song.

I chose to combine these two pieces of music because I was fortunate enough to discover that they worked together in counterpoint. The time in Luther’s life in which he created Ein’ Feste Burg and his sigil The Luther Rose (from the Edict of Worms (1521) through his stay at Coburg Fortress (1531) brought both tunes conveniently together “under one roof” as well.

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Clark, R.; Luther, M. (2008). Fortress of the Rose [score]. C. Alan Publications: Greensboro, N.C.
  • Reber Clark website Accessed 11January 2019