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I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Burnsiana Movement 5

Scots! wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots! wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victory!

Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lour:
See approach proud Edward's power -
Chains and slavery!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!

What for Scotland's king and law
Freedom's sword will strongly draw?
Freeman stand, or freeman fa'?
Let him on wi' me!

By oppression's woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow! -
Let us do or die!

This movement is the most Scottish sounding of Burnsiana, and rightly so, as it is the most patriotic of the poems I chose to influence this composition. The movement begins with a bagpipe type drone on the tenor and baritone saxophones. The soprano saxophone has melody that represents the calm before the battle. The rallying of the troops begins at measure 16. Staccato notes and trills permeate this section. The battle itself begins at measure 34 with short accented notes representing dueling.

Measures 42 - 92 is the heat of the battle. The soprano and alto saxophones alternate minor scale passages while the tenor and baritone saxophones have a more sustained melody based on diminished 7th chord harmonies. Measure 63 is a canonic interlude based on earlier material of rallying the troops. This staccato idea becomes an underpinning for a re-orchestration of the diminished 7th sustained melody.

Measures 92-112 rallies the troops again, but this time with use of the melody to Scotland the Brave, first over a drone and rhythmic accompaniment and then in a canon of one beat over the same accompaniment. The battle continues again at measure 112 before Scotland the Brave enters for the final time at Measure 125, this time combined with the melody and drone of the introduction. The victorious battle concludes the movement and the composition.

To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/Burnsiana_blog.html. You will be viewing a transposed score.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

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