Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 57, Morning

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

Mornings have always been, are now, and continue to be powerful inspiration for artists. Why should this be? Perhaps there is something symbolic in the rising of the sun – a new day, a clean start, a fresh outlook. Mornings can also symbolize the fulfillment of hope or the attainment of joy. Although the world may seem dark and bleak at times, we can always look forward to the happiness that inevitably comes with dawn.

In this sense, David’s music nearly always looks to the sunrise. It looks to the joy of what it is to come, not the dreary waste of what has been. This week, we feature three of David’s works that celebrate or look to the joy of morning: “When I cannot love I wait for morning” from Songs for the Coming Day, On This Bright Morning, and Morning Star.

Songs for the Coming Day – IIV. When I cannot love I wait for morning

From David’s Program Note:

Songs for the Coming Day is in nine movements, and runs about 48 minutes. It was commissioned by the Masato Kumoi Sax Quartet and consortium. The movements are relatively brief “songs without words” with titles such as Breathing, Awakening, Letting Go of the Past, and The soul is here for its own joy. Eight of the nine movements are varying degrees of slow, emphasizing longer durations and quieter dynamics. There is a high demand for precise ensemble awareness and blended tone qualities. The title Songs for the Coming Day reflects my belief that under the chaotic surface of our world there is a rising creative energy through which is growing a new idea of living in harmony with ourselves and the Earth.

Watch below as the Syzygy Saxophone Quartet gives a moving performance of “The soul is here for its own joy” from their album Songs for the Coming Day.

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On This Bright Morning

From David’s Program Note:

On this Bright Morning was written for a consortium of Montana high school bands. The focus group was the second band at Missoula’s Hellgate High School, the thinking being that this second band in a good music program would represent the technical development of the average high school band around the state. The music is bright and engaging, and at the same time quite soulful. It asks players and conductors to commit fully to a very direct and powerful personal feeling. On This Bright Morning acknowledges the struggle, and the feelings of pain and loss in times of transition, but embodies the pure joy of realizing the bigger life. On this bright morning, life is new, life is possible.

Watch below as Mark Iwinski leads the Victor J. Andrew High School Wind Symphony in an exceptional performance of this work.

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Morning Star

From David’s Program Note:

Morning Star was commissioned by the Grand Ledge (Michigan) High School Wind Symphony, Michael Kaufman, conductor, and premiered by them in May of 1997. Mike asked me to write a piece for the inauguration of the new concert hall being built at Grand Ledge High. Well, the hall wasn’t finished, and the piece was premiered in the old gym – the gymnauseum as it was called – and we had a good time anyway.

Morning Star was a surprise to me. In planning for the piece I came up with a great many ideas – enough for three or four pieces. When it came time to compose the piece I suddenly discorded all of that material and went with a little tune that came to mind. The result is a happy piece, a concept which does not usually attach itself to my music.

Morning Star is about beginnings: the dawning of a new day, the opening of a new hall, the beginning of adult life for the young people who premiered the piece, and for those who are playing it now.

Watch below as Richard Strauch leads the Whitworth Wind Symphony in an exciting performance 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 maslankaweekly@maslanka.org.