Symphony No. 2 (Ticheli)

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Score Cover

Frank Ticheli

General Info

Year: 2003
Duration: 21:35
Difficulty: VII (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manhattan Beach Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $465.00   |   Score Only (print) - $95.00


1. Shooting Stars – 4:35
2. Dreams Under a New Moon – 10:15
3. Apollo Unleashed – 6:00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion (5-6 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Cabasa
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Ratchet
  • Slapstick
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbals (2: small and medium)
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-tam
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-toms
  • Triangle (2: small and medium)
  • Vibraphone
  • Vibraslap
  • Woodblocks (mounted)
  • Xylophone


In parts:

  • Clarinet I, Mvt. I, m.168, last sixteenth note of beat 1: should be a B-flat, not a C.
  • Clarinet I, Mvt. III, m.63-64, beat one: The first note in each measure should be B-flat, not B-natural.
  • Clarinet I, Mvt. III, m.253, second note: Should be a B#, not a B-natural.
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone I, Mvt. II, m.4, fifth 8th note: Should be a written F natural, not an F-sharp.

Program Notes

The symphony's three movements refer to celestial light -- Shooting Stars, the Moon, and the Sun.

Although the title for the first movement, Shooting Stars, came after its completion, I was imagining such quick flashes of color throughout the creative process. White-note clusters are sprinkled everywhere, like streaks of bright light. High above, the Eb-flat clarinet shouts out the main theme, while underneath, the low brasses punch out staccatissimo chords that intensify the dance-like energy. Fleeting events of many kinds are cut and pasted at unexpected moments, keeping the ear on its toes. The movement burns quickly, and ends explosively, scarcely leaving a trail.

The second movement, Dreams Under a New Moon, depicts a kind of journey of the soul as represented by a series of dreams. A bluesy clarinet melody is answered by a chant-like theme in muted trumpet and piccolo. Many dream episodes follow, ranging from the mysterious to the dark, to the peaceful and healing. A sense of hope begins to assert itself as rising lines are passed from one instrument to another. Modulation after modulation occurs as the music lifts and searches for resolution. Near the end, the main theme returns in counterpoint with the chant, building to a majestic climax, then falling to a peaceful coda. The final B-flat major chord is colored by a questioning G-flat.

The finale, Apollo Unleashed, is perhaps the most wide-ranging movement of the symphony, and certainly the most difficult to convey in words. On the one hand, the image of Apollo, the powerful ancient god of the sun, inspired not only the movement's title but also its blazing energy. Bright sonorities, fast tempos, and galloping rhythms combine to give a sense of urgency that one often expects from a symphonic finale. On the other hand, its boisterous nature is also tempered and enriched by another, more sublime force, Bach's Chorale BWV 433 (Wer Gott vertraut, hat wohl gebaut). This chorale -- a favorite of the dedicatee, and one he himself arranged for chorus and band -- serves as a kind of spiritual anchor, giving a soul to the gregarious foreground events. The chorale is in ternary form (ABA'). In the first half of the movement, the chorale's A and B sections are stated nobly underneath faster paced music, while the final A section is saved for the climactic ending, sounding against a flurry of 16th-notes.

My second symphony is dedicated to James E. Croft upon his retirement as Director of Bands at Florida State University in 2003. It was commissioned by a consortium of Dr. Croft's doctoral students, conducting students and friends as a gesture of thanks for all he has given to the profession.

- Program Note by composer

On the surface, the title of the third movement of Frank Ticheli’s Second Symphony -- Apollo Unleashed —- might evoke the image of a vengeful power. Instead, in the context of the entire symphony, it refers to the brilliant and dazzling light of the sun and is thematically linked to the work’s other movements through its connection to heavenly light (meteors in the opening Shooting Stars and the darkened lunar surface in Dreams Under a New Moon). The work is not explicitly programmatic, and Dr. Ticheli himself warns in the score against taking anything too literally. However, it is easy to manipulate imagery with the characteristic sounds of the score, from its percolating opening conjuring the first rays of sunlight bursting over the horizon to the galloping rhythm of the primary theme supposing the sun god himself as most frequently portrayed: streaming furiously across the sky on a chariot pulled by four white horses.

The piece also has a second inspiration: one of honoring a legend. The work was commissioned in celebration of the 2003 retirement of the late Dr. James Croft (1929-2012) from his position as Director of Bands at Florida State University. Incorporated into this movement in particular is a touching reference in the quotation of a Bach chorale (BWV 433), commonly known in English as Who Puts His Trust in God Most Just. This chorale was a favorite of Dr. Croft’s and was arranged by him in a beautiful setting for band and chorus. As Ticheli states in his own notes on the symphony, the chorale “serves as a kind of spiritual anchor, giving a soul to the gregarious foreground events.”

The movement is cast in a modified rounded binary form with an extended introduction that begins as a steady simmer and eventually boils over into ebullient joyfulness. Mixed asymmetric meters keep the rhythms unpredictable and lively while an ascending diatonic tetrachord becomes layered sequentially, building the texture from sparse to rich and full. As the chorale is introduced, these fragments persist with slight agitation, churning the movement forward to its development, which juxtaposes motives, not just from earlier in the movement but also from the symphony’s first two movements. The final phrase of the chorale signals the concluding moments of the symphony as cascading scales ripple above in the woodwinds before one final shout of the piece’s first few measures finish the piece in an exclamation of pure elation.

- Program Note by Jacob Wallace for the Baylor Wind Ensemble concert program, 19 December 2014



State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Florida: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • North Carolina:
    • VI: play Movement 3 only
    • Masterworks: play all
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete


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