Hymn was commissioned by Maestro Dustin Seifert and the Eastern New Mexico University Symphonic Band the spring of 2016. The initial idea behind the work was an approximately Grade 3 work in celebration of Mother’s Day, as the final spring concert for the commissioning ensemble fell on that holiday. As a result, the piece is inspired and loosely based on the Roman Catholic hymn Glorious Mother!
I say “loosely based” because the result you’ll hear here is nowhere strictly quoted in the original hymn. Rather, upon repeated listenings of the original hymn I composed a melody and harmonic structure reminiscent of the original tune – a true personal translation of the initial piece. My own original intent upon beginning the work was to create a sort of representation of motherhood in specific emotional states, but that was quickly tossed aside as I began to realize the complexity of such an endeavor.
Instead, I fashioned a “flowering” motif, the very first sound emitted by the ensemble, where from one note grows a series of triads. As each pitch becomes a seventh chord, the seventh sustains and from its singularity another series of triads grows, steadily ascending (or “growing up”) in the aural spectrum. Eventually this repeated growth is overwhelmed at rehearsal [C] by lush seventh chords that swell breath-like in a mixture of love and trepidation – what I imagine it must feel like watching a child grow knowing they will inevitably part to follow their own lives. This bittersweet soundmass fades into a sort of static but charged statement of the primary theme in the trombones (followed by a soli with the French horns). Afterwards a memory of the flowering motif makes one more appearance, this time blossoming more wildly into the climax of the work, a glorious and uninhibited hymn of joy in the full ensemble.