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Christopher Tucker: Music Gallery


(for organ and wind symphony)
2003 • Estimated timing: 6'30" • Grade 5
“When I was approached by Dan Holman to compose a work for his high school band, I had no idea what lied ahead of me. My previous commissions had open agreements in that I was free to compose whatever muse inspired me. In the past, it could have been a painting I glanced at and became mesmerized like in my Twilight in the Wilderness or my admiration for the music of Percy Grainger in my A Feather in the Morning Air. However, this commission had specifics, which afforded me the opportunity to face a musical challenge I had not yet encountered. How does one convey an occasion in which one is not personally attached? I was asked to compose a work of brilliance to open a new concert hall and auditorium. In addition, the guidelines included that the composition be in tribute to a former student of C. H. Yoe High School and long-time resident of the city of Cameron, Texas. I looked into myself and saw another challenge. How does one convey in four to six minutes the explosiveness of a concert hall opener, which is the start of something new, and the enduring legacy of a person who exemplified conviction and generosity over time? On top of that, I felt the necessity, while creating a interlocking flow between the two elements, to incorporate some sort of musical connection with the high school. When all was said and done, I am quite proud of what I created. Genyoesis!> was the realization of this particular challenge.

The work balances three main elements with my own musical voice. The dominant melodic theme is the hymn “Lord Jesus, I Love Thee.” Representing her favorite hymn, Catherine Thomas, whom the work is dedicated to, was for 50 years organist of the First United Methodist Church. She was also a 1937 graduate of C. H. Yoe High School. The hymn although heard in its entirety during the middle section of the piece inspired the opening motive first heard in the horns. The secondary element is a direct tribute to Catherine Thomas – adding the concert organ to the wind ensemble setting. Finally, in regard to the opening of the school district’s new high school auditorium, I interspersed quotes from the high school fight song – at times in its original context and in others an alteration of its familiar 6/8 pulse.”