Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Saturday, February 10

Maslanka's Symphony No. 4

Synopsis

What do you SEE when you HEAR music? An odd question perhaps, since music is such an abstract art form, but sometimes composers themselves confess that particular places, persons, and scenes play a role in how music is created.

On today’s date in 1994, in San Antonio, Texas, for example, a new symphony for wind ensemble by the American composer David Maslanka received its premiere performance during a convention of the Texas Music Educators Association. Maslanka wrote several symphonies for winds, and this one was his Fourth.

In his program notes Maslanka confessed two major inspirations: The first was (quote), “the powerful voice of the Earth that comes to me from my adopted western Montana, and the high plains and mountains of central Idaho.” The second, he said, is his fascination with President Abraham Lincoln. Maslanka explains that reading about a Civil War brass band playing the “Old Hundreth” hymn tune at sunset as Lincoln’s coffin was transferred to a waiting funeral train was an image that haunted him.

“For me,” wrote Maslanka, “Lincoln’s life and death are as critical today as they were more than a century ago… My impulse through this music is to speak to the fundamental human issues of transformation and re-birth in this chaotic time.”

Music Played in Today's Program

David Maslanka (1943-2017) Symphony No. 4 Dallas Wind Symphony; Jerry Junkin, cond. Reference Recordings RR-108

Additional Information

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