Symphony for Drums and Wind Orchestra
Movements (played without pause)
1. Invocation - 4:45
2. Contemplation - 8:55
3. Declaration - 7:45
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
C Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II
Bass Trombone I-II
- Bass Drum
- Field Drum
- Sleigh Bells
- Snare Drum
- Suspended Cymbal
None discovered thus far.
Benson wrote Symphony for Drums and Wind Orchestra while living in San Miguel, Mexico, a period when he got really hooked on composing. He became intensely involved in writing the composition, in the first movement, as “I wanted to see if I could make a whole movement work based on two pitches. A and B-flat.” The great variety achieved with the treatment of this semi-tone is largely due to the creative orchestration and imaginative use of percussion.
According to Benson, “the second movement is actually a big lyrical piece, in a sense. It is based on very simple material, ostinato, and canons with improvisational development. The development is more casual, subtle, and inflective rather than substantive.” The movement is woven with a simple three-measure, six-note theme in Aeolian mode that is a study in compositional economy. Paraphrasing the passacaglia variation technique, there are thirty continuous statements of the melody surrounded by increasing harmonic sonorities structured on the same six tones. It leads to a central climax of massive proportions before receding quietly.
The final movement stresses the crucial semi-tone of the first movement and expands it to a whole step before its ultimate resolution to the pitch A. It begins and ends with percussion alone. The elements of the semi-tone are present, but gradually the whole-step and finally full harmonics appear, while potent sources of jazz in the rhythmic superstructure hold sway. The work ends with percussion moving into silence.
- Program Note by John Paynter
For William MacLean for the American Wind Symphony (Robert Boudreau, conductor).
- Program Note from Warren Benson website
- Audio CD: U.S. Marine Band (Michael J. Colburn, conductor) - 2019
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Adagietto (1992)
- The Beaded Leaf
- Concertino for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble (1955)
- Danzon-Memory (1991)
- Daughter of the Stars (1998)
- Dawn's Early Light (1987)
- Divertissement No. 1 (1993)
- The Drums of Summer (1997)
- Ginger Marmalade (1978)
- Helix (1966)
- The Leaves Are Falling (1964)
- Mask of Night (1968)
- Meditation on “I Am for Peace” (1990)
- The Passing Bell (1974)
- Polyphonies for Percussion (1960)
- Remembrance (1962)
- Recuerdo (1966)
- Scherzo, Chorale, and Aria Serena (2002)
- Shadow Wood
- The Solitary Dancer (1969)
- Star Edge (1965)
- Symphony for Drums and Wind Orchestra (1963)
- Symphony No. 2, "Lost Songs"
- Transylvania Fanfare (1953)
- Variations on a Handmade Theme
- Wings (1984)
- Benson, W. (1963). Symphony: For Drums and Wind Orchestra [score]. Peters: New York.