Fusion (2011)

Judd Street Collection - September 2013
Duration: approx. 6:00

Fusion is a follow-on work to Escape Velocity (2010) and seeks to capture the sense of the celebration that arises when a believer arrives in heaven and is finally joined in eternal fellowship with God. In depicting this event the work links General Albert Orsborn’s song I know thee who thou art (SASB 59) with Chris Rice's contemporary hymn Come to Jesus.

It begins where Escape Velocity finished with a minute or so of dark minor-key chords. Then the music breaks free into a joyous vivace over which the elegant tune of Brantwood gently flows. The listener is reminded of these words: 

Thy name is joined with mine
By every human tie,
And my new name is thine,
A child of God am I;
And never more alone, since thou
Art on the road beside me now.

Albert Orsborn (1886-1967)
SA Songbook 59 (Tune: Brantwood TB 221)

Performance by
Territorial Music School 2011

Fusion (TMS 2011 A-Band).mp3

 Sample score page
(right-click to download or 
open in a new window)  

Fusion (p5).pdf Fusion (p5).pdf
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Type : pdf

After more fireworks the music settles down to a quiet reflection based around the contemporary Christian song Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) by Chris Rice.  The words of this simple hymn say:

1. Weak and wounded sinner 
Lost and left to die 
O, raise your head, for love is passing by 
Come to Jesus 
Come to Jesus 
Come to Jesus and live! 

2. Now your burden's lifted 
And carried far away 
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so 
Sing to Jesus 
Sing to Jesus 
Sing to Jesus and live! 

3. And like a newborn baby 
Don't be afraid to crawl 
And remember when you walk 
Sometimes we fall...so 
Fall on Jesus 
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live! 
4. Sometimes the way is lonely 
And steep and filled with pain 
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then 
Cry to Jesus 
Cry to Jesus 
Cry to Jesus and live! 

5. O, and when the love spills over 
And music fills the night 
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then 
Dance for Jesus 
Dance for Jesus 
Dance for Jesus and live! 

6. And with your final heartbeat 
Kiss the world goodbye 
Then go in peace, and laugh
on Glory's side, and 
Fly to Jesus 
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live! 

© Warner/Chappell Music Inc.

Comments for Conductors (June 2013)

The piece opens with an arresting unison chord, describing an earthly death toll.  Tubular bells (or even low-pitched glockenspiel) will help the depiction. The chord demands control of intonation and a sustained, balanced sound across the ensemble. Repeated rehearsal of these bars may build confidence within the band and enable the conductor to achieve the desired balance.

To gain an understanding of what the opening section (bars 1-26) represents, Heb. 12:1-3 - particularly ‘everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles’ (Heb. 12:1 NIV) – will give good context.

At letter B (bar 27) the music breaks free into a vivace which requires an absolute change in style (in terms of the story, we have moved from earth to heaven). The opening section demanded sustained notes and long lines; here the music must be energetic and joyous. An accurate hi-hat line is key and notes on the bass line (the pulse) should not be too short or pecked. In bars 29-30 Solo Horn and Euphonium present what will be a recurring principal motif.  Soprano, back row cornets and Flugel provide decorative ‘flurries’; for the desired effect, players should slightly over-exaggerate the crescendos and diminuendos.

The recurring tongue-slur-tongue motif (e.g. tenor trombones bars 28-31, tenor horns bars 32-34, horns and baritones bars 45-62) is predominantly in two parts and therefore should be equally balanced at all times.

At letter C the tune Brantwood is introduced. Basses and percussion continue to provide the pulse and the tongue-slur-tongue motifs should subtly fill the gaps. The melody line on Solo Horn and Euphonium should flow with long, gentle lines – think smooth oil on an uneven canvas.

At letter D note the contrast between cornets and trombones in bars 1-2 (marked marcato as a quasi-fanfare style is required here) and the sostenuto instruction in bars 3-4. In bars 5-8 trombones should be controlled, confident and clear, with equal balance across the three parts.

Letter E replicates material used at letter B. Solo Cornet and Euphonium should observe the tenuto in bar 3 of E, giving a little extra weight to the dotted minim; the same effect is required again on Soprano and 1st Trombone four bars later.

There should be thrilling sounds at letter F. Keep the tempo driving until the molto rit. and use this to arrive at a calm pace where the Flugel opens the second movement with a refrain from Come to Jesus.

Requiring hymn tune-like phrasing, the middle movement is a prayerful reflection and should be largely straightforward.  The only observations would be first, preserve the simplicity of the song. In arranging it for the piece I was conscious that ‘less is more’ – the song needs no dressing up. Just permit this uncomplicated hymn to speak for itself. Second, allow the movement to gently build as each verse is presented. The climax of the movement is over bars 118-119, and even here it is only forte. At this point strive for warmth and fullness of sound rather than energy or effect. The back row cornet feature in these bars may at first look out of place, but it’s there to provide just a touch of movement and colour.

At letter J the band will need to switch back to the vivace style of the first movement where the aforementioned instructions again apply. At K there needs to be a building-up of intensity; don’t allow Euphoniums and Basses to be too intrusive in their first entry.

Letter L is at slightly less than half the tempo of the vivace. Observe the maestoso sostenuto instruction but keep in mind it still needs to move along, otherwise momentum may be lost. The melody line (back row cornets and tenor trombones) should be grand in style; strive for fullness of sound – nothing too brittle or pointed.

At letter M the poco accel. device is there to increase the sense of energy and momentum. It should really move along at the Presto (bar 159) but save the volume for two bars later; making a statement with the fortissimo. At the allargando there is a reprise of the phrase Thy name is joined with mine bringing the piece to a thrilling conclusion.

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