From Wind Repertory Project
Joseph Turrin

Joseph Turrin

General Info

Year: 2002
Duration: 21:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C Alan
Cost: Score and Parts - $250.00   |   Score Only - $75.00


1. Genesis - 7:50
2. Earth Canto - 6:55
3. Rajas - 6:30


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV-V
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Piano and Celesta
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Bell Tree
  • Bells
  • Brake Drum
  • Gong
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-Tom
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

When Kurt Masur commissioned me to compose a work for his farewell concert with the New York Philharmonic, he requested that it be exclusively for winds. Composing a piece for one-half of the orchestra became the inspiration for the title Hemispheres (defined as one of two half spheres formed by a plane through the sphere's center). Hemispheres would become the metaphor for a piece written in three movements, with the middle movement, like an equator, dividing the larger halves.

While composing, I began to explore the concept of the hemisphere and how individual parts come together, forming a larger, more perfect whole. The idea of a sphere, a circle, the earth, evolution, the cycle, the journey, and returning to the origin seem to take hold. I thought of how every culture has beliefs about creation and that somehow they are all based on a similar idea -- that of returning to the origin, the full circle. Through my research on this subject I became most interested in three particular stories of creation all from very diverse cultures: The western (1. Genesis), American Indian (2. Earth Canto), and Hindu (3. Rajas). These stories became the motivation for Hemispheres in that music itself also takes on a cyclical form with reoccurring themes throughout and short motifs that develop into larger groups.

Much of the music was complete by the time the horrific events of September 11, 2001, had occurred. Although there was more composing to be done, these events had a profound effect, not only on me, but consequently on the music as well. I began to look at the piece from a completely different perspective. As I continued writing, I decided to expand previous sections, cut, refine, and add new material until the work took on a new shape -- something larger and more potent. What had started out as three culturally diverse stories coming together into one larger unison had now become an homage to life, earth, creation and the divine forces that drive the sphere of existence. In the shadow of September 11, 2001, I realized that I had written a memorial piece: not as a melancholy elegy, as one might expect, but a work that is driving, forceful, exuberant, and a celebration of life itself.

- Program note by composer

The following quotes and narrative are the inspiration for each of the movements:

I. Genesis.
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determines its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7)

II. Earth Canto.
In the beginning of the world, all was water. The Great Chief lived in the sky alone. When he decided to make the world, he went down to the shallow places in the water and threw up great handfuls of mud that became land. He piled some of the mud so high that it froze hard and became the mountains. The Great Chief made trees grow on earth, and also roots and berries. He made man out of a ball of mud and told him to take fish from the waters and deer and other game from the forests.

But in spite of all the things the Great Chief did for them, the new people quarreled. They bickered so much that Mother Earth was angry and she shook the mountains so hard that they fell on to the earth. Many people were killed and buried under the rocks and mountains. Someday the Great Chief will overturn those mountains. Then the spirits that once lived in the bones buried there will go back into them.

At present those spirits live on the tops of the mountains, watching their children on earth and waiting for the great change which is to come. The voices of these spirits can be beard in the mountains at all times. No one knows when the Great Chief will overturn the mountains. We do know that the spirits return only to the remains of people who in life, kept the beliefs of their grandfathers. Only their bones will be preserved under the mountains. ("Creation of the Yakima World" from '['Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest by Ella E. Clark)

III. Rajas.
The world has been created and destroyed many times. In each cycle of creation there was an age of man to accompany it:

the age of Satvez (goodness; the golden age): which lasted 4000 years. This was the age in which people were born in pairs, enjoyed life, were never sad, never worried, never wanting for food, never worked and never hated.

the age of Rajas (energy):which lasted 5000 years. This was the age when trees grew and rain fell. The trees became homes and shelter for people and provided them with food. People made sacrifices to the gods. Negative emotions thrived, which led to coveting of material things, stealing and killing.

the 3rd age, (a mixture of the first two): which lasted 2000 years. People suffered much in this age as a result of things said, thought and done. These people became numb from all the suffering. Knowledge became important in this age because it led to ways of relieving the suffering.

the age of Tamils (darkness): people walked in darkness, ignorant and blind to truth. They knew jealousy and hate and killed holy men who attempted to aid them in finding truth. They degenerated and ended up scavenging for food, having a difficult time doing anything. Those who survived the dark age would have a chance at finding peace and getting back some of the golden age of man. (Hindu Creation Myth)

- Program Note from Texas Christian University Wind Symphony concert program, 22 February 2019


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) 22 September 2023
  • Roosevelt University (Chicago, Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Stephen Squires, conductor) - 20 September 2022
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (Matthew McCutchen, conductor) - 20 November 2020
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 3 March 2019
  • Texas Christian University (Houston) Wind Ensemble (Bobby Francis, conductor) – 20 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.)
  • Boston University (Mass.) Wind Ensemble (David Martins, conductor) – 13 November 2018
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth) Wind Symphony (Bobby R. Francis, conductor) – 18 October 2018
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Harland D. Parker, conductor) – 5 October 2017
  • Satellite Beach (Fla.) High School Wind Ensemble (Mark Nelson, conductor) – 25 February 2010 (CBDNA 2010 Southern Division Conference, Oxford, Miss.)
  • California State University, Long Beach, Wind Symphony (John Carnahan, conductor) – 16 March 2006 (CBDNA 2006 Western/Northwestern Division Conference, Reno, Nev.)

Works for Winds by This Composer