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In Memoriam: Kristina

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Bruce Yurko

Bruce Yurko


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General Info

Year: 1997 / 2002
Duration: c. 8:10
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig, through Keiser Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $45.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


Instrumentation

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


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

"In Memoriam: Kristina was written following the death of a young French horn player in 1995 named Kristina Damm who perished following a walk on a beach in Virginia with her father. A storm had just passed, the sky had cleared and a bolt of lightning came out of the blue and hit them both.

Her father was unharmed, but Kristina succumbed to her injuries the following day, two days before she was to return to her high school for marching band camp. The story goes that Mr. Yurko was Kristina's horn tutor, a title he bore proudly as she would often demonstrate a great faculty and eagerness in approaching her studies on the instrument.

Yurko's piece begins with a very ethereal, haunting mallet motif that is repeated intermittently throughout the piece as it develops. At an early point an off-stage horn player is heard playing a solo, and (if memory serves me, I don't have the program notes in front of me as of writing) a vacant chair is placed in the horn section. This evolves into a choir-like woodwind echo of the horn solo, punctuated by the mallet theme as it spreads out to a full band texture into a climactic statement of the primary theme.

As it resolves from this first statement, the clarinets and mallets escort us into a final statement from the off-stage horn, that introduces a secondary theme that sounds reflective and hopeful, performed as a brass chorale. This segues into a mechanical clockwork of what I can only presume is the composer's interpretation of someone mentally wrangling with finding purpose in the purposeless. It's chilling and uncomfortable, as a very melodic, consonant melody interacts with an underlying tone of dissonance enhanced by a sustained piano. This theme of confusion eventually builds into a full-out roar, only to sink back into a clarinet and oboe texture that slowly returns us to the brass chorale, as played by the flute section. Eventually this returns to the brass and eventually the horns as a prominent statement of that melody turns back to the terrifying percussion of the introduction, echoing into the distance as the solo horn plays once more. Finally, a brass chorale answers the horn player to bring us to a close.

- Program Note from Listening Friday


Early in the summer of 1995, two of Bruce Yurko's horn students, Kristina Damm and a high school classmate, took their last lessons before each left on vacation trips. After two weeks passed, Yurko telephoned Kristina's classmate to remind him that lessons would begin again. The classmate responded by asking Yurko if he had heard the sad news: on her camping trip, Kristina had been struck by lightning and died. The news hit Yurko very hard; Kristina had been one of his most enthusiastic and hardest working students. When he assigned her one Kopprasch étude, she returned the next week with four prepared.

As soon as he hung up the telephone, Yurko sat down to the piano and began playing. By late evening he was writing down sketches. Three days later, Paul Tomlin, Kristina's high school band director, called Yurko to commission a work for the Clearview Regional High School Concert Band in her memory. "It's already written," Yurko replied, "I only need to orchestrate it." Yurko refused the commissioning fee, specifying that the money go toward a scholarship in Kristina's name.

- Program Note from Illinois State University University Band concert program, 25 April 2012


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Media Links


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class CC
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Maryland: V
  • North Carolina: V
  • Oklahoma: III-A
  • South Carolina: IV
  • Tennessee: IV
  • Texas: IV. Complete


Performances

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Works for Winds by This Composer


Resources