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Morton Gould: Symphony No. 4, "West Point"

Symphony No. 4, "West Point"

  1. Epitaphs

  2. Marches

Morton Gould

Born: December 10, 1913, New York, New York

Died: February 21, 1996, Orlando, Florida

Composed: 1952

Duration: 16 minutes

University of Maryland Wind Ensemble

Friday, March 10, 2017, 8 pm

Elsie & Marvin Dekelboum Concert Hall

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

The University of Maryland at College Park

Gould's fourth symphony was composed for the West Point Sesquicentennial Celebration, marking 150 years of progress at the United States Military Academy. One of the first landmark symphonies composed specifically for wind band, Gould's Symphony No. 4 is a two-movement masterwork. Gould employs both traditional and modern techniques, adeptly changing colors and styles to engage the listener. He even calls for a marching machine in the first movement.

The composer writes, "The first movement, Epitaphs, is both lyrical and dramatic. The quiet and melodic opening statement of the main theme leads directly into a broad and noble exposition of one of the motifs, becoming a passacaglia [a musical form based on continuous variations over a ground bass] based on a martial theme first stated by the tuba. After a series of variations which grow in intensity, the opening lyricism, combined with the passacaglia motif and an allusion to Taps, makes a quiet but dissonant closing to the first movement.

"The second and final movement is lusty and gay in character. The texture is a stylization of marching tunes that parades past in an array of embellishments and rhythmic variants. At one point there is a simulation of a fife and drum corps which, incidentally, was the instrumentation of the original West Point Band. After a brief transformed restatement of the themes in the first movement, the work finishes in a virtuoso coda of martial fanfares and flourishes.”

- Program Notes by Norman E. Smith

Morton Gould, Symphony No. 4, "West Point," Mvt. 1, "Epitaphs"

"The President's Own" United States Marine Band, Col. Michael J. Colburn, conductor

Morton Gould, Symphony No. 4, "West Point," Mvt. 2, "Marches"

"The President's Own" United States Marine Band, Col. Michael J. Colburn, conductor

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