Be Thou My Vision composed by David Gillingham. For concert band (Piccolo, Flute 1/2, Oboe 1/2, Bassoon 1/2, Clarinet 1, Clarinet 2, Clarinet 3, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone 1/2, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Trumpet 1, Trumpet 2/3, Horn 1/2, Horn 3/4, Trombone 1/2, Trombone 3, Euphonium, Tuba, Timpani (4 drums)). Grade 4. Score and parts. Duration 7:00. Published by C. Alan Publications (CN.04450).
It's not often you come across a composition that offers the high level of musical merit needed to appeal to directors and also offers an emotional depth able to truly move an audience. This is such a piece. Gillingham bases his reverent and powerful work on the hymn tune Be Thou My Vision (also known as the old Irish ballad Slane), with its eternal message of faith and hope. It goes far beyond being an arrangement of a familiar hymn tune, as Gillingham gives moments of real drama in the shimmering tonal colors provided by the woodwinds and the glorious brass lines that break through like dazzling sunlight through the clouds. It's the kind of work you will want your band to experience.
It was an honor and privilege to compose this work for Ray and Molly Cramer in honor of their parents. The work is heartfelt, expressive and hopefully inspiring. The hymn tune, "Slane," is one of my favorites and inspired me to compose a countermelody which is likened to an old Irish ballad. Since "Slane" is, in fact, an old Irish ballad, the two tunes share this unique camaraderie. The work opens with a medieval-like flavor of reverence leading to the first presentation of "Slane" ("Be Thou My Vision") in D-minor stated in chant-like somberness by the euphonium. Following, the newly composed Irish ballad is sung by the flute which leads to a dramatic statement of "Be Thou My Vision" by the full ensemble in A-major. The work is interrupted by a prayerful interlude. Following is the marriage of the two Irish tunes in Db-major which grows to a glorious climax and then subsides. A heavenly benediction closes the work. - DRG.