Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 32, The World

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

David Maslanka loved the world in which he lived. He loved walking in Montana’s beautiful countryside. He loved reading about everything from religion and philosophy to science and history. He traveled the world and worked with people from all walks of life. And, although he struggled coming to terms with the evil of which humanity was capable, he also had bright optimism for a world filled with love, peace, and hope. This week, we examine three of David’s works that by their title suggest a close harmony to the world in which he lived: Hymn for World Peace, Out of This World, and This is The World.

Hymn for World Peace

From David’s own program note:

The title, “Hymn for World Peace,” came from the simple thought that if we want world peace, we can begin as individuals to ask for it. Music making opens hearts and creates peace in individuals and communities. This is a powerful step as musicians that we can take.

Watch below as Louis Vitello leads the Clarence High School Symphonic Band in the world premiere (no pun intended) of this heartfelt music.

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Out of this World

David said that, “The composition of Out of this World arose from my reading of the brief poem of the same name by the Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. He describes his experience of communion in a Catholic Mass. He has the experience of the mystery, and of time stopping. For all the rationalism, cynicism, and violence of modern times, he says ‘I cannot disavow words like “thanksgiving” or “host” or “communion bread.” They have an undying tremor and draw, like well water far down.’ My music is a relatively brief but passionate statement from the heart. It has a storytelling quality similar in intent and feel to a Chopin Ballade.” Watch below as Matthew Swallow (Alto Saxophone), Christopher Jones (Cello), and Juliana Yap (Piano) give the world premiere (again, no pun intended!) of this powerful music.

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This is the World

According to David, “This is the World is a set of largely interior tone poems for a two-piano, two-percussion ensemble. The music is spacious and patient, with simple rhythms, slow harmonies, expansive and touching melodies, and moments of ferocity, whimsy, and grandeur. Although old-time Chorale melodies play an important role in this music, the Nighthawks painting of Edward Hopper is foundational to the whole piece. This painting from 1942 touches something enduring about the American heart and experience, specifically an element of darkness, estrangement, and waiting which I wish to see brought forward and transformed in our time. We are at the cusp of enormous change.” Watch below as Karen Beres & Christopher Hahn (Piano) and Lance Drege & David Steffens (Percussion) give a sensational performance of Movement I, “Nighthawks.”

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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