VIEW SCORE: AND THEN SKY WAS CROWNED WITH STARS (SCORE–PDF)
INSTRUMENTATION: Flute, Oboe (opt.), Bassoon (opt.), Bb Clarinet 1,2,3, Bb Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone 1,2, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Bb Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Timpani, 4 (or more) Percussion: Vibraphone, Glockenspiel, Large Bass Drum, Triangle, Wind Chimes (metal), 2 Suspended Cymbals (large and small)
PERFORMANCE NOTES: Beautiful harmonies and colours highlight this award-winning piece, playable by young/maturing bands but appropriate for strong high school and collegiate groups as well. A rich and unique addition to the program of any band or wind ensemble.
You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins,
till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars:
and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world… -Thomas Traherne
I have often been inspired by Thomas Traherne, and by this quotation in particular. When I went to Texas recently for a performance and to study band music with two friends who are also excellent conductors, I was inspired by the green, hilly, landscape of east Texas to fulfill an idea I’ve had since I lived just outside Austin, TX years ago: the image of blue fading to purple, of tall trees turning gradually to silhouettes before being swallowed by night, only to have the sky open above the darkness and reveal the distant starlight.
You will hear these musical plays on color in this work as uncertain harmonies and the dark colors of woodwinds and low brass invoke the uncertainty and forbidding of nightfall, followed by the calm stillness and darkness of night descending, and finally the sparkling surprise of eternal lights emerging as, miraculously, a clear night sky is crowned with stars.