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Anthem for Doomed Youth
For Wind Ensemble
© 2018 M.O.T.I.F. (ASCAP)
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Small Bass Drum
3 Flutes (2nd dbls. Alto Flute, 3rd dbls. Bass Flute in Mvmt. II)++
3 Bb Clarinets
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
4 C Trumpets (3 and 4 dbl. Flugelhorns in Mvmt. II)++
Euphoniums (at least two players needed)
Tubas (at least two players needed)
5 Percussion (one player per part)
PERFORMANCE NOTESPERFORMANCE NOTES
-All trills in this piece are half-step trills. This is also indicated in the parts.
-All offstage parts can optionally be played onstage or given to auxiliary players to reduce movement onstage if necessary.
-All rhythmic values in aleatoric music (indicated as boxed music with repeated material) are approximate. Some of these
parts in the score are indicated with the note "Play independently from each other." The players should not be playing
together in these moments. In addition, the parts indicate the duration the aleatoric music is to be repeated for as actual rests.
In only these specific cases, the players should continue to repeat the aleatoric music to the end of its marked duration.
-It is recommended that the following parts be doubled for performance, especially if auxiliary players are to be used:
Flutes, Bb Clarinets, Horns, C Trumpets, Trombones, and (if possible) Double Bass. From this list, Alto Flute, Bass Flute,
and Bass Trombone should not be doubled.
Percussion 1 Percussion 2 Percussion 3 Percussion 4 Percussion 5Percussion 1 Percussion 2 Percussion 3 Percussion 4 Percussion 5
+Bass Flute is optional, but strongly preferred if available. The part is also included as a cue in Bb Clarinet 3.
++Horn 3 and C Trumpet I are offstage for the beginning of Movement II, while Chimes are offstage for the
entire movement. Their individual positions are left to the discretion of the conductor.
+++If rope drum is used, it must have snares as well as a synthetic non-Kevlar head. In the score and parts,
the instrument will be marked only as "Field Drum" after the first instance it appears.
++++If possible, it is recommended that the siren players stand on opposite ends of the wind ensemble when
playing the part. This will help achieve a stereophonic effect in the group as well as allow for both sirens
to be clearly heard at the fermata in measure 198 of Movement I.
* Indicates that the percussion instrument is shared between players.
Concert Bass Drum
PERCUSSION LISTPERCUSSION LIST
Large Field Drum or Rope Drum+++
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Anthem for Doomed Youth - Anthem for Doomed Youth - Wilfred Owen, 1917Wilfred Owen, 1917
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PROGRAM NOTESPROGRAM NOTES
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) was first and foremost a poet, writing such works from the age of 17 onward. Unable to pursue
this passion academically, and after being rejected from several universities, Wilfred would serve his country England during
World War I, leading to an almost fatal accident which left him hospitalized for several months. During his recovery, and
under the tutelage of his co-patient and fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon (who would introduce him to literary authors such
as H.G. Wells), Wilfred wrote some of the most beloved British poetry concerning World War I, depicting both the
psychological and physical tortures of the battlefield and the human condition during these violent times.
Anthem for Doomed Youth is one such poem of Wilfred Owen's personal experiences in battle. There is no true glimmer of
hope to be found in this excruciatingly detailed account of trench warfare. The first stanza alone conjures up the imagery of
rapid onslaughts of violence matched by agonizing and religious choirs of despair. The tone then shifts in the second stanza
to subdued reflections in an almost mocking fashion, suggesting as if even the prayers and chants of those who follow religion
are completely meaningless compared to the tragedies of war. Their cries for help and salvation are almost irrelevant in this regard.
I was first introduced to Wilfred's poem by a very good friend in college who, at the time, was studying the literary history of
World War I. I was immediately entranced by the gruesomely dark nature of Wilfred's poem as well as its bleak and sometimes
sarcastic tone. Any references made to church and prayer are shockingly and bitterly mocked. His striking use of metaphor
and juxtapositions of various lines (the "choirs" with "wailing shells," for example) embody the dual nature of his prose, as
both a bitter reflection of soldiers his age (and even younger) marching to war and dying while cruelly mocking those at home
praying for their loved ones to survive. Ironically, Wilfred Owen would rejoin his regiment after recovering from his injuries,
only to be killed in action just a few months later.
This overall sense of duality within the madness and chaos of Anthem for Doomed Youth became the basis for the musical
conceptualization of the poem. Using the full forces of the wind ensemble, the work is divided into two movements (one for
each stanza). Metaphors and other distinctive elements of the poem are translated into musical motives surrounded by moments
of chaotic frenzy and subdued liturgies.
Movement I, "Wailing Shells," begins with a cold introduction of machine-like, impending doom that continuously creates more
uncertainty and panic. The scene of violence and destruction which follows is juxtaposed with dissonant echoes of chordal "choirs"
off in the distance, praying and pleading to their respective deities. Gunfire and cannons are brought to life with heavy percussive
artillery and constant woodwind shrieks and shrills. The warfare seemingly never ends, even with minor victories; it only grows
stronger until its sudden cataclysmic end.
Movement II, "Each Slow Dusk," begins after a desolate soundscape that closes the first movement. A processional, including
liturgical-like music that's introduced and scorned soon after, is met with tremors of the battles that have occurred. Horn/trumpet calls
and church bells are all heard off in the distance. A memorial soon begins in reflection of those who died in service of their country,
only to be overtaken once more with tragic memories of the horrors of the war. Nightmarish visions bring back the intensity and
neverending terrors to cataclysmic results once again.
As Wilfred had indicated in his poem, there is not a true resolve to the bitterness of these moments in the end. There are only just
memories to be forgotten and fallen ones to be laid to rest.
© 2018 M.O.T.I.F. (ASCAP)
All Rights Reserved.
Full Score (transposed)
Flute 1 + 2
Oboe 1 + 2
Bassoon 1 + 2
Bb Clarinet 1 + 2
Bb Clarinet 3
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Horn 1 + 2
Horn 3 + 4
C Trumpet 1 + 2
C Trumpet 3 + 4
Trombone 1 + 2