In August I was commissioned to write this piece for the Catawba College Wind Ensemble in North Carolina and will be published later this year also. I will conduct this piece during its premier in November. The work is written for flute 1 and 2, oboe 1 and 2, bassoon, clarinet 1, 2, and 3, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone which doubles soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet 1 and 2, horn 1 and 2, trombone 1 and 2, euphonium, tuba, timpani, tubular bells, bass drum, suspended cymbal and crash cymbals, tam-tam, wind chimes, and triangle.
I cannot honestly remember the last time I went through so much stress composing a composition. In the music itself it sounds as though no stress was involved, but the actual process I had to go through almost killed me. The problem was simply time and having to work so fast. Due to my baby girl still being so young at 7 months I had a time limit on when and where I could compose. I only had a couple of hours during the day at work and then if I wanted to work on it at home I had to wait until my wife and baby were asleep which was normally after 12:00 am and then had to be up again at 6 am. This piece was literally all that plagued my mind since late summer. After composing the brass and woodwind parts, the percussion parts took forever and I was limited to only 5 percussionists. I had 8 parts and had to condense it down to 5 without leaving out the color or power. Then after the final recording was finished I had to edit the score and parts. I am used to editing but not on such a strict time schedule. I had to tell myself, “You only have 20 minutes on each part.” You could only imagine how this made me feel if you knew how much of a perfectionist I am. The piece will be performed in November, it was now October and I still had the score and parts to finish. If you have never completed a score and parts before you cannot simply imagine the amount of work that is involved. I finished the scores and parts in a week just finishing last night and sent the PDF’s to the conductor today. I believe there was something like 29 separate parts playing each of them live to make sure they were playable and everyone had an awesome part. I included a link to the parts also so you could see the entire process.
This work was inspired by Bach's use of combining well-known hymns with original melodies. This work includes a theme found in the trumpets and horns that is for my daughter Molly Aria. You will hear a little bit of her theme announced by the horns but when the original text of "Amazing Grace" would say, "Leads me Home," you hear it fully proclaimed by the trumpets representing the fact that I did not know what home truly meant until my daughter was born.
~Rodney MP3: https://app.box.com/s/rizzkab3qoj60zsox5xp Score: https://app.box.com/s/mwswj00k6fpjx513xemk Complete "Amazing Grace" with all the MP3, score, and parts included: https://app.box.com/s/r0t86cgb2e1kbneb79l4