This work bears the designation Opus 19.
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:
- Bass Drum (2)
- Cowbells (small, medium, large)
- Cymbal (suspended)
- Gong (Tam-tam)
- Snare Drum
- Tom-toms (2)
- Tubular Bells
None discovered thus far.
Samurai is dedicated to and commissioned by Timothy Reynish and the Royal Northern College of Music Symphonic Wind Orchestra for the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles (WASBE) Conference at Hamamatu in Japan. The world premiere was conducted by Sachio Fujioka in July, 1995, at the conference.
At the time of writing Samurai, I was seeking to produce a work that would not be out of place in an Akira Kurosawa film. Although Samurai is written in one movement, I have divided it into three scenes, "Signals and Flags", "The Ceremony of Departure", and "Attack". The first section represents the signaling methods used by the samurai on the battlefield where powerful war-drumming and heraldic flags help identify the various units within the army. The central scene, "The Ceremony of Departure", is more tranquil, circumscribing the review of the troops by the daimyo (aristocratic leader) and his generals before the battle and the ritual offering of prayers which was presided over by a Buddhist monk. The final scene returns to the powerful war-drumming, signaling the attack.
Contrary to popular belief, not all samurai were warriors. They were highly educated people from the Japanese military ruling class -- the Eastern equivalent of Renaissance men who were just as skilled in the discipline of warfare as they were in the arts of painting and music. In this work, I have juxtaposed these two very difference facets of the culture.
Musical instruments played an important part in early Japanese warfare. On the battlefield a wide range of audible as well as visual signals were used, the most significant beight the taiko, a large war drum. Also featured was the horegai which was a conch-shell trumpet. The horegai was sounded to tell the warriors to put their battle plan into action and could be heard as far away as six miles! When soldiers heard the taiko they knew they had to re-group. In ancient rural Japan, the village boundaries were not only decided by geography, but also by the farthest distance from which the taiko could be heard.
- Program Note by composer'
(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro) Wind Ensemble (Reed Thomas, conductor) - 25 October 2022
- University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Orchestra (Terrence Milligan, conductor) – 1 February 2018
- Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor) – 25 September 2017
- Eastman Wind Orchestra (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor) - 25 March 2015
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Battles & Chants
- Black Fire
- Breaking the Century
- The City in the Sea
- Fanfares & Celebrations
- Fields of Remembrance
- Forgotten Heroes
- Gagarin (2004)
- Heritage Suite (2009)
- King Solomon's Mines
- La Fleur en Papier Doré (2019)
- Mata Hari
- Mysteries of the Horizon (2015)
- Samurai (1995/2007)
- Tilbury Point
- What Hope Saw (Heritage Suite)