College of Music Program Book 2011-2012: Ensemble & Other Performances, Volume 1 Page: 73
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fliigelhorn followed by a warm, reassuring melody which culminates the movement.
This final theme is significant in that it is the key to understanding this work. We
must all seek to be a "light unto the darkness" ... to find good amidst the evil. The
"light" is within the final melody of this work and seeks to call our attention to 168
special, individual, and beautiful souls who are now at peace. They are our "lights
unto the darkness."
Amazing Grace (1994) was commissioned by John Whitwell in loving memory of his father,
John Harvey Whitwell and in dedication to his mother, Annie Lee Whitwell, in recognition
of their deep religious faith and their lives of selfless service to others. It was premiered
on February 10, 1994, by the Michigan State University Wind Symphony, John Whitwell
conductor. Ticheli provides the following about the piece:
I wanted my setting of "Amazing Grace" to reflect the powerful simplicity of the
words and melody - to be sincere, to be direct, to be honest - and not through the
use of novel harmonies and clever tricks, but by traveling traditional paths in search
of truth and authenticity. I believe that music has the power to take us to a place
that words alone cannot. And so my own feelings about "Amazing Grace" reside
in this setting itself. The harmony, texture, orchestration, and form are inseparable,
intertwined so as to be perceived as a single expressive entity.
The spiritual, "Amazing Grace," was written by John Newton (1725-1807), a
slaveship captain who, after years of transporting slaves across the Atlantic Ocean
to the New World, suddenly saw through divine grace the evilness of his acts. First
published in 1835 by William Walker in The Southern Harmony, "Amazing Grace"
has since grown to become one of the most beloved of all American spirituals.
Claude T. Smith (1932-1987) received his formal education at Central Methodist College
in Fayette, Missouri and the University of Kansas. He was a public school instrumental
music teacher in Nebraska and Missouri before joining the faculty at Southwest Missouri
State University where he taught composition and conducted the University Symphony
Orchestra. Smith received numerous prestigious commissions including works for the U.S.
Air Force Band, the U.S. Navy Band and the Army Field Band.
Eternal Father, Strong to Save (1975) is based on the missionary hymn of the same name
composed in 1860 by William Whiting, which was adopted as the official hymn of the U.S.
Navy. This work opens with a brilliant fanfare. The melody of the hymn then appears in a
fugue developed by the woodwinds. The brass echo the fugue until the melody once again
appears played by the choir of horns. The ensemble joins in for a finale reminiscent of the
Here’s what’s next.
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University of North Texas. College of Music. College of Music Program Book 2011-2012: Ensemble & Other Performances, Volume 1, book, 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc114723/m1/74/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Music Library.