GREAT SPIRIT OF EARTH AND SKY (for Symphonic Band)
For Symphonic Band
This work for symphonic band (wind ensemble) was commissioned by the Bishop Ireton Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Dr. Randall Eyles director.
“The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us….”
Spoken by Big Thunder of the Wabanaki nation in Maine, these words bear eloquent testimony to an awareness of the cosmos that is shared by all
the native cultures of what is today the United States and Canada. (Depicted at the cover is the face of Nass-Shaki-Yeil, a creator god in Northhwest Coast culture.)
The main harmonic concept of the work consists of the following consideration: If the letters of the alphabet are given to the notes of a chromatic scale, the letter A would be the note “C”, letter B the “C#”, letter C
the “D”, letter E the “D#” and so on.
With this configuration, the words “Mother Earth” create a C major/suspended chord and the words “Father Sky” create a C major/suspended chord with a minor seventh and a sharp eleventh, suggesting a C augmented chord (whole tone scale).
The main theme of the work represents the Great Spirit and his voice will be heard throughout the piece, through the Earth and from the Sky.
Miami June/July 2008
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