Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 19, Durch Adams Fall

Maslanka Weekly highlights excellent performances of David Maslanka’s music from around the web.

In 2000 David Maslanka said, “The 371 Four-Part Chorales by J.S. Bach have come a focal point for my study and meditation. These chorales are the models for counterpoint and harmonic movement used by every beginning music theory student. I had my first encounter with them as a freshman at the Oberlin Conservatory in 1961. Ten years ago I returned to singing and playing them as a daily warm-up for my composing time. Since then the chorales have become a deep well for me, a huge access to dream space. The feeling is one of opening an unmarked door in a nondescript building, and being suddenly thrust into a different world. The chorales are this mysterious door to other worlds.”

Durch Adams Fall (Through Adam’s Fall) from The 371 Four-Part Chorales by J.S. Bach

This week, we look at two pieces of David’s music that were inspired by the chorale prelude Durch Adams FallSymphony No. 5, and Recitation Book, Mvt. V, “Fanfare/Variations on Durch Adams Fall.” Watch below to see this melody as it was harmonized by J.S. Bach.

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Symphony No. 5

According to Maslanka, “Much of the music of this Symphony is urgent and insistent. I have used the words ‘aggravated,’ ‘angry,’ and ‘overwhelming’ by way of description. But for all its blunt and assertive force, the Symphony is not tragic. It is filled with a bright and hopeful energy. The music…continually speaks to the theme of transformation – the transformation of tears into power, and the victory of life over death.” The chorale melody Durch Adams Fall appears throughout Movement I. Watch below as Stephen Story leads the Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble in a thrilling performance of this music.

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Recitation Book, Mvt. V, Fanfare/Variations on Durch Adams Fall

Maslanka said that “A recitation book is a collection of writings, often of a sacred nature, used for readings by a community. The music of this piece draws on old sources for each movement – Bach Chorales, a Gesualdo madrigal, and Gregorian Chant. A number of old variation techniques are employed throughout the piece.” Watch below as the Oasis Quartet performs the final movement of Recitation Book, “Fanfare/Variations on Durch Adams Fall.”

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We would love to hear from you! If you know of any outstanding performances of David Maslanka’s music on the web, please email us at

By |2018-12-31T19:29:33+00:0029 October 2018|Chamber Music, Featured, Maslanka Weekly, Recitation Book, Symphony No. 5|