Przebudzenie (Pshed-bood-ZANYA) is the Polish word for “The Awakening” and the title of my new Symphonic Wind Ensemble Fanfare. I chose the title Przebudzenie because of my appreciation and understanding of the power of human resolve to rise up out of difficult times. The original orchestral version of Przebudzenie was dedicated to Wojciech Lasek, the director of the largest percussion festival in Europe, Drum Fest, in Opole, Poland. The orchestral fanfare was premiered in 2016 for the 25th Anniversary of Drum Fest by the Opole Philharmonic directed by Nicholas Williams. I first performed at Drum Fest in 2008 and since 2012 I have been honored to serve as the Artistic Director for the Drum Fest Marimba and Vibraphone International Competition. This fanfare was my tribute to Wojciech’s vision for the festival and for all of the people (musicians, staff and audiences) who have supported and developed Drum Fest into a world-class festival.
Not long after the orchestral premier of Przebudzenie, wind ensemble director Brad Genevro was on the campus of the University of North Texas. I had been a long-time fan of Genevro’s musicianship and his dedication to music education. We had worked together at UNT and also when he directed and recorded Stubernic Fanfare at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. Brad had just moved to the University of Texas at El Paso and he was looking for new works for his wind ensemble there. We discussed Przebudzenie and then later at the Texas Music Educator Association Convention in February of 2017 he commissioned me to write a wind version of the fanfare for the UTEP Wind Ensemble. The premiere will be on October 3, 2017 on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso. Also on the program that night will be my concerto Stubernic Fantasy with marimbists Andy and Amy Smith!
Przebudzenie is my first composition that does not feature percussion or a percussion soloist. Revisiting this fanfare resulted not only in re-orchestrating the music but also rewriting and refining the original composition. In my opinion, this wind ensemble version brings a new vision to the composition as the wind ensemble genre is a perfect fit for this music.
The fanfare begins with antiphonal chimes surrounding the audience imitating Opole, Poland’s Cathedral bells. In my original work, these chimes represented freedom as the Poles were the first country to reject the Soviet Union and Communist rule in 1989 through the Solidarity Movement led by Lech Walesa (Eastern Germany followed later that year by bringing down the Berlin Wall). However, in the wind ensemble version I feel that these chimes represent freedom of racial prejudice in the United States. In the “Land of the Free” it is my hope that we will soon be free of racial violence and prejudice as we are all Americans regardless of skin color or cultural background.
While Poland may seem a far distance away from the USA, Polish military leaders such as Tadeusz Kościuszko were a major asset to the American colonies’ fight for freedom in the American Revolution. So much so that Poland was the second country in the world to establish a democratic constitution in 1791 (after the USA in 1789). As a tribute to freedom, the final bars of the fanfare features a quote from the Polish National Anthem and a return of the antiphonal chimes.
I am grateful to the following for their advice and support in composing Przebudzenie: Wojciech Lasek, Bradley Genevro, Nicholas Williams, Eugene Corporon, Dennis Fisher, David Itkin, The Opole Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Texas at El Paso Wind Ensemble. Thank you! As always, every note is a celebration of life with my wife Ewelina and our beautiful daughter Emily.
The University of Texas at El Paso rehearsing Przebudzenie under the direction of Brad Genevro.
3 B-flat Clarinet
2 Alto Sax
3 B-flat Trumpet
4 F Horn
2 Tenor Trombone
Snare Drum (with optional off-stage field drum)
Percussion – 3 Concert Toms, suspended cymbal, crash cymbals, large gong (hydraulic drum heads should be used on the concert toms.)
Chimes played by four players. Only one set of chimes is required. Chime players 1, 2 and 3 hold one chime tube each with a single chime hammer. Player 1 is in the back of the audience with players 2 and 3 on either side of the performance hall. Chime player #4 is on stage with the remaining chimes on the chime rack. At certain points the chimes players are asked to slightly mute their chimes while playing. With players 1,2 and 3 this can be done with the hand holding the chime tube reducing the resonance and projection. Player #4 can simply mute the chime with the non-playing hand.
*The photo above of the main bell in Opole, Poland’s Cathedral towers was taken by Slawomir Mielnik. The bell’s name is “Urban.” http://plus.nto.pl/magazyn/a/najglosniej-w-opolskiej-katedrze-dzwoni-urban-zdjecia,11620400
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