The Canticle of the Sun
For Solo Percussion and Concert Band
Duration: c. 13.30 minutes
Publisher: STUDIO MUSIC COMPANY
THE CANTICLE OF THE SUN was commissioned by Birmingham Symphonic Winds, conductor Keith Allen, for Simone Rebello. The work is based on the canticle written by St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) whose ideas that nature and the material world were gifts from God and should be valued and appreciated. I have taken some suitable lines to form subtitles and contrasting sections within a piece played without any breaks. The work opens with a cantus firmus announced by the soloist on a bowed vibraphone. This cell of perfect fifth intervals forms the material for the majority of the piece. This is followed by Brother Sun on tremolandi marimba, a solo flute joining in to create a simple texture. Sister Moon and the Stars is an energetic interlude for solo xylophone followed by an equally vibrant vibraphone solo. A brief bridge passage leads into Brother Wind, the Air and Clouds with the soloist performing a celebratory dance on the higher register of the marimba. A brass fanfare subsides into Sister Water where an ethereal melody is played on crotales. Brother Fire is a percussive and sometimes violent section that engages in conversation with the band percussion section supported by a consistent ostinato feature in the main body of the band. This leads into a solo cadenza and a return of the previously heard brass fanfare takes us to Mother Earth where crotales are again featured. I have added an additional section which I call Father Heaven and this quotes the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy as a brass chorale. The marimba joins in and the work closes with a coda that brings the piece full circle ending in a gentle mood of contemplation.
Piccolo, Flutes 1.2, Oboe, Cor Anglais, Bb Clarinets 1.2.3, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bassoons 1.2,
Eb Alto Saxophones 1.2, Bb Tenor Saxophone, Eb Baritone Saxophone,
Bb Trumpets 188.8.131.52, F Horns 184.108.40.206, Trombones 1.2.3, Euphoniums 1.2, Tubas 1.2,
Timpani, Percussion 220.127.116.11.5
With regard to the solo percussion part a degree of artistic licence is permissible in the un-tuned instrument sections. This particularly applies to the Brother Fire drum-station section where the notated drum descriptions do not always need to be adhered to. The written rhythms should, however, be as notated. The tuned instrument parts should be played as presented.
The work was first performed by Simone Rebello and Birmingham Symphonic Winds conducted by Keith Allen in the CBSO Centre, Birmingham on 25 November 2006. The same artists performed this revised and version at the 13th WASBE International Conference in Killarney, Ireland on 13th July 2007.
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