Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 87, Grace

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

Grace is defined as “a theological term present in many religions. It has been defined as the divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses, and to impart strength to endure trial and resist temptation; and as an individual virtue or excellence of divine origin.”

This week, we feature three of David’s compositions that offer various glimpses of grace: Requiem, Symphony No. 9, and Traveler.


From David’s Program Note:

A Requiem is a Mass for the dead. This relatively brief instrumental piece with the title Requiem is not a Mass, but serves a parallel function – the need to lay to rest old things in order to turn the mind and heart toward the new.

I have an abiding interest in why humans go to war. I have recently read much about World War II, and was confronted once again with the awful fact of fifty million needless deaths. Shostakovitch thought of every one of his compositions as a tombstone, and wished that he could have written a separate memorial piece for every person who died in war.

I do believe that we are in a major transitional time, and that this transition happens first in each of us. My Requiem is both for the unnamed dead of all wars, and for each person making their own inner step, saying goodbye in order to say hello.

Watch below as Andrea Loss leads the Rovereto Wind Orchestra in an exquisite reading of this work.

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Symphony No. 9 – Movement I. “Shall We Gather at the River”

From David’s Program Note:

Symphony No. 9 is a large collection of instrumental songs. There are many influences and underlying elements, but most of them cannot be explained in words. Rather than try, I will simply list some of the things at work:
Time: memory, passing of time, “We flew through the years hearing them rush under us” — W.S. Merwin
Water: cleansing and life–giving power, Shall We Gather at the RiverWhale Story
Nature: our ground, river, ocean, chickadees
Grace: compassion, forgiveness, rest

Watch below as Mark A. Norman leads the University of Michigan Concert Band in a beautiful performance of this music.

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From David’s Program Note:

Traveler was commissioned in 2003 by the University of Texas at Arlington Band Alumni Association, the Delta Sigma Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and the Gamma Nu Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, in honor of the career contributions of Ray C. Lichtenwalter, retiring Director of Bands at UT Arlington. Ray has been a close friend and champion of my music for many years, and it was a great pleasure for me to write this piece for his final concert.

The idea for Traveler came from the feeling of a big life movement as I contemplated my friend’s retirement. Traveler begins with an assertive statement of the chorale melody “Nicht so traurig, nicht so sehr” (“Not so sad, not so much”). The chorale was not chosen for its title, although in retrospect it seems quite appropriate. The last part of life need not be sad. It is an accumulation of all that has gone before, and a powerful projection into the future – the potential for a tremendous gift of life and joy. And so the music begins with energy and movement, depicting an engaged life in full stride. At the halfway point, a meditative quiet settles in. Life’s battles are largely done; the soul is preparing for its next big step.

Watch below as Pat Vandehey leads the Portland State University Wind Symphony in a stunning rendition of this work.

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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 |2020-02-18T01:21:51+00:0018 February 2020|Featured, Maslanka Weekly, Requiem, Symphony No. 9, Traveler|