To the Mountain
Oboe I-II (II doubles English Horn)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (III doubles Bass Clarinet)
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-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
Percussion I-VI, including:
- Bass Drum
- Crash Cymbals
- Orchestra Chimes
- Snare Drum
- Temple Blocks
None discovered thus far.
From the very founding of Pacific Lutheran University in 1890-91, music has played a central role in the PLU curriculum and campus life. Indeed, the first faculty member to be hired at PLU was a music professor and band director -- Carlo A. Sperati. Inspired by the majesty of 14,410 foot Mt. Rainier, clearly visible from campus, Sperati led his young musicians—the first PLU band—on a trek to Camp Muir at the mountain’s 10,000 foot level. There they played Luther’s best-loved hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Ever since, the “mountain-top experience” has been a metaphor for music at PLU. Memorializing that historic accomplishment of so many years ago I wrote To the Mountain, written in 2017, and dedicated it to the current Pacific Lutheran University Wind Ensemble and its director, Dr. Edwin C. Powell.
The work is cast in three scenes. The musical materials of the first scene are derived from select letters of Carlo Sperati’s name -- C, A, R (R=re=D), S (S=Es=E-flat), E, and T (T=ti=B) -- their various permutations naturally giving rise to A minor and related harmonies. After a dramatic opening announcement, the slow ascent begins in steady march-like step -- the mood a mixture of awe, pilgrim-like determination and faithful optimism as seven variants unfold. As the climbers finally approach their goal, the mounting tension is broken by a sudden moment of breathless anticipation: A solo horn call, echoed from afar, resolves into a brilliant burst of sound in an entirely new and unexpected key. The band has arrived! Equally unexpected (and seemingly as out of place here as a band on a mountain!), a brief piano cadenza follows as scene two begins, leading to a moment of spellbound contemplation of the wondrous view before them. Otherworldly sounds accompany, but they soon give way to feelings of simple reverence and thanksgiving as a solo flute begins Luther’s beloved hymn. The band gradually joins in to make a full statement of the hymn in its well-known traditional form. Lively celebration then follows as the third scene is launched by Luther’s lesser-known original rhythmic-tune variant, its joyful dance followed by brief but energetic development of materials from the first two scenes. A brief moment of reflection and thankfulness precedes the coda. The three scenes connect without pause.
- 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
- Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor) – 22 March 2018 (CBDNA 2018 Western/Northwestern Conference, Rohnert Park, Calif.)*Premiere Performance*
- Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor) – 11 March 2018
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Luther: Seven Scenes for Brass Quintet
- On the Square March
- Three Sketches for Woodwind Quintet
- To the Mountain (2017)
- Jerry Kracht, personal correspondence, March 2018
- Pacific Lutheran University Wind Ensemble concert program, 11 March 2018