Clarinet 2 from Goddess of Blossoms - Tone Poem for Concert Band
The title of this piece, Goddess of Blossoms, was inspired by Japanese folk mythology. In Grade 11 History class, my group studied the culture of Medieval Japan, and it was from there that I got some inspiration. In Japan, it is believed that the fleetness of life�s moments is represented in the brief yet beautiful blooming of the cherry tree in spring. Indeed, the blossoming of a cherry tree is a beautiful sight � a favorite topic for water paintings and haikus.
This composition is my personal foray into Romanticism � sudden strong sensations of tenderness, courage, fear, love, joy, and determination � which reflects my past year, which, I must say, exhibited said emotions. The harmonization is not too complex, since this is more of a melody-driven piece. This piece was not intended to sound specifically Japanese, but simply hint at it. However, the percussion section does make use of the stereotypical gong and woodblocks, and various pentatonic scales are used for flavor.
The piece begins with a bold fanfare with the clich� of a smashing gong. The principle theme first appears at bar 23 and ends at bar 32, and is repeated in several distinct variations. It has a vague resemblance with the folksong Kuroda Bushi � though it�s impossible to successfully notate Japanese music in a Western style � and surprisingly it was a drinking song sung by samurai over sake. At bar 56 and up, the melody is played around in a more upbeat variation, and switches seamlessly into a brief major-key interlude.
At bar 90, the pace slows down for a woodwind-led section featuring a new melody, with the only percussion being a bell tree. This is probably the most �Western� sounding part of the piece, with the use of the major pentatonic scale and its rural attributes.
At bar 139, the percussion charges full steam, with the snare drum mimicking Japanese taikos. The rest of the band begins to stir, and, with energy, the brass heroically carries the principal melody in the bass, and charges with gusto, blaring trumpets and soaring piccolos, to the grand finale.
�Goddess of Blossoms�, at eight minutes long, is the result of many months of arduous fine-tuning, and, like all works of art, will never truly be completed. This arrangement for concert band, specifically for the Encore Winds Ensemble, was a work of love.
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