Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 42, Let There Be Light

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

From the very first lines of the Holy Bible we read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.”

Not a practicing Christian, David nevertheless found meaning in Christian symbology. Said he, “I have used Christian symbols because they are my cultural heritage, but I have tried to move through them to a depth of universal humanness, to an awareness that is not defined by religious label. My impulse through this music is to speak to the fundamental human issues of transformation and re-birth in this chaotic time.”

One of the symbols popular not only in Christian theology but also in many religions and philosophies across the world is the idea of light overcoming the power of darkness. It should therefore be no surprise that light is also a reoccurring symbol in David’s music. This week, we examine three of David’s works that make reference to light: First Light, Illumination, and Golden Light.

First Light

David said that, ” First Light has two characters. They are marked in the musical score as ‘unforgettable wounds – darkness,’ and ‘perseverance – first light.’ It has been my long personal experience that no real change, no transformation, occurs without crisis. We don’t move if we don’t have to. This is as true on the societal and environmental levels as it is on the personal. We are facing huge crises in our society and in our world, with every aspect of human darkness rising to the surface. It is my faith that we, with imagination, work, and perseverance, are at the edge of a profound transformation – a movement into light.” Watch below as Santiago Mella García leads the Banda de Lalín in a compelling rendition of this music.

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From David’s Program Note:

“Illumination” – lighting up, bringing light. I am especially interested in composing music for young people that allows them a vibrant experience of their own creative energy. A powerful experience of this sort stays in the heart and mind as a channel for creative energy, no matter what the life path. Music shared in community brings this vital force to everyone. Illumination is an open and cheerful piece in a quick tempo, with a very direct A-B-A song form. Watch below as Chadwick Kamei leads the Pearl City High School Symphonic Winds in a rousing performance of this work.

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Golden Light

From David’s Program Note:

Golden Light is an energetic and joyous piece which evolved out of brisk walks in the woods of upper Manhattan near which I lived for many years. The title was inspired by the play of sunlight in the trees, especially in late afternoons. The mildly hypnotic state induced by walking at a rapid pace brought about a music of short, repetitive melodic fragments and interweaving polyrhythms. The influence is distinctly traditional African where many voices arise out of a stable tonality to weave and blend together. Watch below as Andrew Boysen, Jr. leads the University of New Hampshire Wind Symphony in a spectacular performance of this piece.

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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 |2019-09-16T22:32:00+00:008 April 2019|Featured, First Light, Golden Light, Illumination, Maslanka Weekly|