Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Tuesday, April 30

Del Tredici's In Wartime

Synopsis

On today’s date in 2003, the Wind Ensemble of the University of Texas at Austin, led by Jerry Junkin, premiered a new work for wind band by the American composer David Del Tredici.

Its title was “In Wartime,” as its composition and premiere coincided with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by the United States alongside the United Kingdom and smaller contingents from Australia, Denmark, and Poland.

“’In Wartime,’ my first piece for wind symphony, was begun on November 16, 2002, and completed on March 16 (my birthday), in 2003—as momentous a four-month period in U.S. history as I have experienced,” recalled Del Tredici.

“With my TV blaring, I composed throughout this period, feeling both irresistibly drawn to the developing news and more than a little guilty to be unable to turn the tube off. Composing music at such a time may have seemed an irrelevant pursuit, but it nevertheless served to keep me sane, stable and sanguine, despite the world's spiraling maelstrom.”

Del Tredici’s “In Wartime” has two sections: “Hymn” and “Battlemarch.” The first has the character of a choral prelude, with fragments of “Abide with Me” sounding through a welter of contrasting material. An ominous drum roll introduces the “Battlemarch” section, with the confrontation of East vs. West symbolized by musical quotes from “Salamti, Shah!” (the national song of Persia) and the opening of Wagner’s opera, “Tristan und Isolde.”

Music Played in Today's Program

David Del Tredici (b. 1937) In Wartime University of Texas Wind Ensemble;Jerry Junkin, cond. Reference Recording 104

Additional Information

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