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Sol Solator

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Timothy Mahr

Timothy Mahr

General Info

Year: 1997
Duration: c. 9:30
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Neil A Kjos Music
Cost: Score & Parts - $140.00   |   Score Only - $14.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II
Soprano Saxophone
Alto Saxophone
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II-III
French Horn I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Piano
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI, including:

  • Crotales
  • Cymbals (crash and suspended)
  • Drum-Set
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (Tam-tam)
  • Marimba
  • Rainstick
  • Timpani (4)
  • Triangle (3)
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes
  • Wood Block


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Sol Solator was commissioned for the New Trier High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble, John Thomson, conductor, in loving memory of Anne Steiner, class of 1994. The work was premiered on May 5, 1998 by New Trier High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble with the composer conducting.

At Anne's memorial service, it was mentioned that Anne loved to watch sunsets and she always tried to find someone to watch them with her. Each summer, she and her family spent two weeks at a cabin on a lake in northern Wisconsin and the sunsets there were spectacular. Anne's family gave me a photograph of a particularly beautiful sunset from the spot where Anne had spent so many twilights watching the grand unfolding of light, color, and glory. It was also said at the service that Anne's spirit would live on in each sunset seen by anyone who knew her.

I mounted this photo above my piano and as I wrote this piece, I found myself drawn to the comforting nature of a sunset - how it meaningfully draws to a close that particular day while providing hope for the day ahead. I found the idea of a sunset also representing the ending of life on earth while making evident the promise of salvation. In the photo, the setting sun creates a lighted pathway along the lake's surface that draws the viewer into its dazzling textures and invites a journey of the eyes. To me, the reflection of the sun's path on the water revealed the strong Christian message of God's promise of new life and hope through resurrection that can be found by those who follow the Son's path.

The title for this composition, Sol Solator, is a Latin phrase, which means "the sun, the comforter". The music came about by imagining myself sitting at the edge of this lake, just listening. Melodies in my composition start with great promise, but do not find melodic completion, their "lives" cut short. Much of the music is calm or contains a quiet agitation.

Anne was a band student of mine as well, having been a two-year member of the St. Olaf Band. Anne's favorite piece on the band's 1996 tour of Norway, which finished just days before she died, was Aaron Copland's Variations on a Shaker Melody. The band's compact disc recording of the music from that tour, which includes Anne's musical contribution on clarinet, is dedicated to her with the phrase "'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free." I chose to incorporate phrases from the Shaker Melody into this work dedicated to Anne's memory, as she exemplified the sentiment of that beloved tune in all that she did.


Program Note by Timothy Mahr


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