Plea for Peace

From Wind Repertory Project
Augusta Read Thomas

Augusta Read Thomas (arr. Chris David Westover-Muñoz)


Subtitle: Vocalise for soprano and small wind ensemble


General Info

Year: 2017 / 2022
Duration: c. 5:40
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Soprano and orchestra
Publisher: Nimbus Music Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Instrumentation

  • Full Score
  • Solo Soprano Voice
  • Flutes
  • Oboe
  • English Horn
  • Bassoon
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
  • B-flat Bass Clarinet
  • B-flat Soprano Saxophone (or Oboe)
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone
  • E-flat Baritone Saxophone
  • B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
  • Horn in F I-II-III-IV
  • Euphonium
  • Celesta
  • Percussion, including:
*Chimes
*Vibraphone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

The history of music is, in many ways, an assemblage of occasional compositions. Since the rise of art pour l’art in the nineteenth century, classical music purports to be abstract, but in the longer arc, compositions connect to specific occasions: a coronation, a requiem mass, a religious feast, a dinner party, a regal celebration. Such occasions and commissions present challenges -- not least for the composer charged with responding to the myriad consequences of the world’s first nuclear reaction. Does one focus on the (positive) reverberations in cancer treatment, power, and science? Does one focus on the (negative) reverberations in bombs, death, waste, and perpetual threats of war?

In Plea for Peace, these consequences are inextricable. The clean perfect intervals that begin and end the work give rise to both expansionist leaps and cocooning retractions. The soloist’s elegant, wordless vocalise weaves in and out of the string quartet’s sustained harmonies in graceful counterpoint, drawing us closer to our common humanity. Simple harmonies slowly transform, becoming rich and complex at the insistent, dramatic climax: a wordless scream from the soul. As the music’s opening glow returns, the voice seamlessly dovetailing with the strings, we return to the sonic space of meditation, reflecting on an absolute plea for lasting peace.

- Program Note by Jennifer Iverson for chamber music version


Scored for wordless soprano and string quartet, Plea for Peace acts as a single, seamless block beginning in near-immobility, with the voice animating the instruments as the music embarks on its slow, implacable progress. With the voice and instruments' lines constantly interweaving and building upon each other, the music imperceptibly grows in fervour without ever changing its spaciously inexorable pace. The work's ultimate peak is as vociferous as it is inevitable. But, as the ending winds back to the opening stillness, there's no sense of fulfillment or arrival. The listener, along with the music, is left awaiting an answer to this impassioned plea.

- Program Note by Paul Pellay for chamber music version


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by This Composer


Resources