Madden for Wind Ensemble
Commissioned by Catharine Bushman and the Winthrop University Symphonic Band
Premiered April 19, 2012
Winthrop University – Rock Hill, South Carolina
Instrumentation: 126.96.36.199.4. – 188.8.131.52.1 – timp. – 3 perc. – piano – cb.
(mad·den. Verb: 1. to anger or infuriate. 2. to drive insane.)
Madden begins with a slow crescendo on a unison D that eventually morphs into a brooding melody, all in the low winds, brass, and percussion. Layered above that is a chorale-like tune in the upper winds. Much of this opening introduces many of the important elements of the work, including constant sudden shifts in character, mood, and dynamics, the juxtaposition of conflicting diatonic harmonies, and the use of musical gestures and tone color as motives throughout the piece. The remainder of the work is in a quick, scherzo-like compound meter, utilizing an incessant G minor-ish eighth-note accompaniment first heard in the clarinets and bassoons. Combining virtuosic bursts in the percussion and brass with frequent lyrical reprieves primarily in the saxophones, the music is often loud and violent but maintains a position on the edge of out-of-control. However, restraint can only keep the music in check for so long until, like its namesake, it reaches its breaking point.
Madden was commissioned by Catharine Bushman and the Winthrop University Symphonic Band and receives its premiere tonight. Many, many thanks for all the hard work and wonderful playing of Prof. Bushman and the students of the Symphonic Band.