Softest Breath, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Roy Magnuson

Roy Magnuson

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The title of this work is intentionally written in lower case: the softest breath

General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 7:30
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

the softest breath was written to memorialize the music and teaching of David Maslanka. David was a tremendously important artist to many, myself included, and I was lucky enough to have spent several weeks with him and his family at his ranch in Missoula, Montana. During these visits, I would spend the morning writing, either in his studio if he was out running errands or doing chores, or in a practice room at the University of Montana music building.

David did not give me much direction for these composing sessions, other than to write, and spend time with traditional four-part texture. Composing in this strict style, derivative of Bach, was at the core of David’s practice. To him, it was meditative, pure, simple, and perfect. To me, as a young student, it was an assignment: restrictive, prescribed, purposeful.

When David passed away suddenly in 2017, I didn’t know what to do. It felt right to pay homage to his memory by making something, but nothing felt correct. In truth, I started the process of creating what has become the softest breath many, many times. Each time, there was a block. What I was trying to make happen did not want to happen. It wasn’t until I began the piece with the process David taught me so many years ago in Montana that, finally, the music poured out.

the softest breath is a pastiche, written in a quasi-Maslanka style, with several subtle quotations and references to many of his works laced throughout. It is a synthesis of his teachings through his music and how they have helped create my voice as a composer. There is a brief chorale at the close, echoing so many of David’s works and reminiscent of my time writing in his studio in Missoula, to remind me to continually center on the meditative, the pure, and the beautiful perfection of the simplest, softest moments in life.

- Program Note by composer


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer