Maslanka Weekly: Best of the Web – No. 18, Remembrance Music

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

Late in his career in 2013, David Maslanka began composing a series of works he termed “remembrance pieces.” According to David, “Each of these pieces has the quality of resolution of deep issues of past trauma or grief, both my own, and some element of huge world traumas such as Hiroshima or the Holocaust.” This week, we look at some of the “remembrance music” of David Maslanka – all from 2013: Remember Me: Music for Cello and Nineteen Players, A Solemn Music, Requiem, and Beloved.

Remember Me: Music for Cello and Nineteen Players

Maslanka remarked, “This composition was inspired by my reading of a ‘relatively minor’ Holocaust event – the extermination of 5,000 Jews in a small town – in William L. Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. An eye-witness description of a Jewish family about to be slaughtered – mother, father, 10-year-old son, grandmother gently bouncing a year-old baby and making it smile – forcefully riveted my mind and heart. This music is for the baby – a single death, through which it is possible to begin to experience the massive horror of the totality.” Watch below as Robert Carnochan leads James Burch, Cello, and members of the UT Wind Symphony in a powerful performance of this music.

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According to Maslanka, “Requiem is a single-movement fantasia written in response to an event of the Holocaust in World War II. It is not possible truly to grasp the deaths of millions of people, but the death of one, in this case a year-old baby – brought me face-to-face with the horror and revulsion of the whole. We think that history is past, and nothing can change it. But the effects of such things as the Holocaust are still immediately with us; the open wound has not been healed. It is my feeling that music can bring closure, and it is my hope that Requiem will serve in this capacity.” Watch below as Jeffrey Boeckman leads the University of Hawai’i Wind Ensemble in a gripping performance of this work.

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A Solemn Music

A Solemn Music was commissioned by Andrew Eldridge, Assistant Professor of Percussion at Texas Wesleyan University. Maslanka said, “The three ‘songs’ in this set are studies in deep moods of contemplation. There are no stories being told, but the patient laying out of line shapes with pauses, and the simple beauty of the marimba tone allow a quiet opening for personal reflection. My own sense of this music is the release and clearing of old patterns of thought and feeling.” Watch below as Tim Clifford gives an inspiring rendering of this music.

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Maslanka’s own words for this composition were few: “Beloved feels both personal, and larger than personal. It has the quality of one side of a conversation – what you have to say to your beloved, especially one departed.” Watch below as Josh Trentadue gives a touching 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