BESIDE THE STILL WATERS

Composer: 

Year Authored (or revised): 

2012

Scoring: 

Concert band

Duration (min): 

9

First Performance: 

Rutgers Symphonic Band, 2012

Beside the Still Waters was commissioned by the Rutgers University Symphonic Band. The idea was for a piece whose musical challenges came from ensemble playing rather than technical difficulty.

Beside the Still Waters imagines a setting for the title, excerpted from the King James translation of the second line of Psalm XXIII. Perhaps a more precise translation from the original Hebrew would be “tranquil” rather than “still.” This conjures the image of a slow-moving spring or stream whose waters are clear and sweet: life-sustaining – especially precious in the desert surroundings of biblical stories – as well as peaceful. The music follows gentle eddies and swirls drawn from the brief song heard in the piccolo once near the beginning and again near the end. Fleeting disturbances in the brass and percussion, heard near the end, dissipate calmly into ripples carried away by the inexorable yet delicate current.

Composition of Beside the Still Waters was assisted by an Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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