Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 40, The Earth

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

David Maslanka once remarked that, “The earth, the sky, the variety of growing things, water — all are constants. They stay the same, but are continuously varied with the time of day, the weather, the changing seasons.” Like the earth, David’s music has a constant place in our hearts and in our lives as we move from one season to the next. As we transition between “seasons” of our own lives, David’s music is a constant – it is a life giving energy that helps us remember to love one another, take courage when the day is long, and find our way when we become lost in the darkness.

The earth was something precious and eternal to David. It symbolized a constant source of goodness and a wellspring of joy in a world that was often gloomy and somber. This week, we examine three of David’s works that make reference to the earth: O Earth, O StarsSymphony No. 6: Living Earth, and Mother Earth.

O Earth, O Stars

David said that, “O Earth, O Stars is a double concerto for flute and cello. The music can stand on its own without any programmatic references, but I am strongly drawn to certain images and depths that are touched when the music relates to these images. Over the years I have been especially concerned with music that has grown out of the old Chorale melodies. The connections made between image or idea and music are complex. They resonate deeply and are not confined to a single set of interpretations. The six movements of this concerto, with chorales on either end, and one in the middle, give the impression of a Baroque cantata. The story being told is one you find for yourself.” Watch below as Stephen K. Steele leads Kimberly McCoul Risinger (Flute), Adriana Ransom (Cello), and the Illinois State University Wind Symphony in a magnificent performance of Movement V, “O Earth, O Stars.”

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Symphony No. 6: Living Earth

According to David, “The earth is a living thing, and humans are part of its consciousness. We have created an environmental crisis that we must go through before we come to a right relationship with the planet. This symphony is an expression of hope for that right relationship. Symphony No.6 is in five movements, each of which embodies one or more melodies from the Bach Chorales. These melodies are old, having sources which go back thousands of years. Like folk music they embody a huge life force, and I now think of them as melodies of the earth. The music of this Symphony is joyous and hopeful.” Watch below as Eugene Tzigane leads the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in a live performance of this symphony from January 22, 2013.

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Mother Earth

According to David, “Mother Earth was composed for the South Dearborn High School Band of Aurora, Indiana, Brian Silvey, conductor. The commission was for a three-minute fanfare piece. Each piece takes on a reason for being all its own, and Mother Earth is no exception. It became an urgent message from Our Mother to treat her more kindly! My reading at the time of writing this music was For a Future to be Possible by the Vietnamese monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. He believes that the only way forward is to be extremely alive and aware in our present moment, to become awake to the needs of our beloved planet, and to respond to it as a living entity. Music making allows us to come immediately awake. It is an instant connection to the powerful wellspring of our creativity, and opens our minds to the solution of any number of problems, including that of our damaged environment. My little piece does not solve the problem! But it is a living call to the wide-awake life, and it continues to be performed by young people around the world.” Watch below as Albuin Meraner leads the Musikkapelle Feldthurns in a spectacular rendition of this music.

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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 |2019-03-25T22:55:58+00:0025 March 2019|Featured, Maslanka Weekly, Mother Earth, O Earth O Stars, Symphony No. 6|