Tears 2017-03-18T20:28:22+00:00

Project Description

Wind Ensemble
12 min.

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University of Massachusetts at Amherst Wind Ensemble, Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr., cond.
On the album Symphonic Wind Music (1996)

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Preview Score


Picc Fl-2 Ob-2 EbCl BbCl-3 BCl Bsn-2 ASx-2 TSx BSx | Hn-4 Tpt-3 Tbn-2 BTbn Euph Tuba DB(opt*) | Pno(opt*) Timp Cel Perc-4

  • Piccolo
  • Flute (2)
  • Oboe (2)
  • Clarinet in E♭
  • Clarinet in B♭ (3)
  • Bass Clarinet in B♭
  • Bassoon (2)
  • Alto Saxophone (2)
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Horn in F (4)
  • Trumpet in B♭ (3)
  • Trombone (2)
  • Bass Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Double Bass (optional*)
  • Piano (optional*)
  • Timpani
  • Celeste
  • Required Percussion 4 players
    • Tam-tam (2)
    • Vibraphone (2)
    • Glockenspiel (2)
    • Xylophone (2)
    • Suspended Cymbal (lg.)
    • Crash Cymbal
    • Temple Blocks
    • Gong (2 sm., 3 med.)
    • Marimba
    • Chimes
    • Tenor Drum
    • Bass Drum (2)
    • Triangle (sm.)

*Double Bass and Piano parts are fully covered, but do use these instruments if possible

For wind ensembles and concertos, please use one player per part. For symphonies and concert pieces, more players may be used as desired. David’s full statement.


 Commissioned by the Wisconsin Chapter of the College Band Directors National Association


31 May 1994, Missoula, Montana

Program Note (1994)

The title “Tears” comes from my reading of the novel Monnew by the African writer Ahmadou Kourouma. His story tells of the dissolution of traditional African culture as Europeans overran it. The native peoples were made to endure the “monnew” – the insults, outrages, contempts, and humiliations – of colonialism.

Our tears will not be abundant enough to make a river, nor our cries of pain sharp enough to extinguish fires.

from Monnew by Ahmadou Kourama
Program note by David Maslanka

Program Note (2009)

The title “Tears” came from reading the novel Monnew by the African writer Ahmadou Kourouma. His story tells of the destruction of a traditional African culture by European colonization. The native peoples were made to endure the “monnew”, the insults, outrages, trials, contempts, and humiliations of colonialism. My reading of the book was the external motivation for composing the piece, but I don’t know anyone in Africa directly. I have come to understand that fascination with something in the external world means that a thing deep inside me has been touched. So the piece is about something in me. Over the years my music has acted as a predictor for me. It gives me advance non-verbal messages about things inside me that I don’t understand yet: movements of my unconscious that are working their way towards the light.

Tears finally is about inner-transformation, and about groping toward the voice of praise. St. Francis and St. Ignatius have said that the proper function of the human race is to sing praise. Tears is about inner breaking, and coming to terms with the pain that hinders the voice of praise. Tears is about the movement toward the heart of love.

Program note by David Maslanka

Further Reading

  • David Maslanka: Music for Young Wind Ensembles

David Maslanka: Works for Younger Wind Ensembles

16 July 2015|0 Comments

Here are more than twenty works for wind ensemble, arranged in approximate ascending order of difficulty, with commentary by David Maslanka

  • Mark Morette and David Maslanka

Recording the Wind Ensemble Music of David Maslanka

25 February 2015|0 Comments

Mark Morette of Mark Custom Recording shares his extensive experience in recording wind ensembles.