DAVID MASLANKA (b.1943): Morning Star, Unending Stream of Life, Laudamus Te, Give Us This Day.
Catalogue Number: 10L094
Reference: TROY 1130
Description: Morning Star, an attractively bouncy occasional piece, opens the program with rousing enthusiasm, and distinct echoes of Grainger's wind-band music. Unending Stream is a set of variations on the hymn tune 'All Creatures of our God and King', presented in full ensemble garb and Vaughan Williams' familiar harmonies in the 'Overture'. There then follow five sections; pensive and introspective; doggedly determined (and more than a little Shostakovich-like in the form of a march); brooding, and melodically reminiscent of a spiritual, though with an exultant climax; and then in the final two, and recapitulation of the theme, a return to the powerful optimism of the hymn. As one would expect, the idiom is inventively tonal, the orchestration bold, colorful and wonderfully original and inventive. Laudamus Te is a quarter-hour tone poem depicting vividly the idea of the voice of praise rising out of darkness, with the dark-hued, percussion-heavy chromatic rumblings of the opening giving way to an ever more emphatic ascending chorus of powerful affirmation, ending in quiet, contemplative melody. Give Us This Day is described as a 'Short Symphony'. In two movements, the first slow, somber and uncertain in character, the second highly energetic, the piece culminates in a modal setting of a Bach chorale. Illinois State University Wind Ensemble; Stephen K. Steele.