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Frost Fall: The Winter of Life

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Full Orchestra - Digital Download
21st Century. Set of Parts. 94 pages. Published by Ayotte Custom Musical Engravings (S0.217251).

Item Number: S0.217251

Composer's Notes:I began composing this music on December 3, 2016, which was my mother’s birthday, two weeks andthree days before she passed away. At the time my mother, Norma, was already in the hospitalrecovering from a standard pacemaker procedure. Little did I know that within three weeks, she wouldbe walking with God. She was 92 when she passed on to reunite with loved ones in Heaven. She andmy late father, Jim, who passed away in March 2011, are the inspiration for this composition, just asthey were my inspiration for many things in my life.Frost Fall, The Winter of Life, is a tone poem (or program music if you prefer) that musically takes thelistener on a journey from the moment of life’s conception when a soul merges with a living being,through the person’s life and death, and to Heaven, the reunion of souls and the triumph of eternal lifeover death. It consists of five sections: Conception, Life, Death, The Passing and The Light.Conception: (Measures 1 thru 18)The Conception section introduces one's soul entering the life form in the womb. This section beginswith the timpani simulating the mother's heart beat and is joined later with the bass drum simulating thenew baby's heart beat. The glockenspiel sings of the presence of the new soul. The new life has begun.The initial key is D major and the tempo is 66. Time signature is 5/4.Life: (Measures 19 thru 82)The Life section depicts the joys of life as the horns and woodwinds play among themselves. As lifematures the strings come to bear. Woodwinds join in the melody as life grows and matures even more.Then the brass and woodwinds join together to announce the prime of life. At the end of this section,the dissonance reflects how fragile life is.Time signature changes to 6/8 while the key stays in D major. The tempo remains at 66.Death: (Measures 83 thru 136)The Death section describes the pain and loneliness of the dying person and then the moment of thephysical body's death. The fragility of life and the suddenness of its end is heard as the strings open thissection. When the oboe, followed by the woodwinds, enters, death is at hand with its solitude andterror. When the glockenspiel returns, it marks the soul leaving the earthly body. The bass drum slowlybeats as the heart grudgingly, faintly stops.Key changes to D minor. The time signature changes to 3/4. The tempo remains at 66 and then beginsto slow in measure 120 until it reaches 36 in measure 134.The Passing: (Measures 137 thru 166)In the Passing section, the music begins the journey to Heaven's gate with the appearance of one'sguardian angels followed by Jesus. The low strings introduce the unknown of the afterlife, the nextstage – passing from the earthly realm to the heavenly kingdom. Violins and horns herald the coming ofthe Angels to greet the freed soul. The fanfare of trumpets and trombones marks the arrival of JesusChrist, who has come to bring the soul to Heaven. The passing begins with an ascending sequence inminor seconds played by the strings. Key changes to F major. The time signature changes to 4/4. The tempo begins to accelerate in measure138 from 72 to 120 in measure 165. In measure 166, the tempo slows to 72 before transitioning to TheLight beginning in measure 167.The Light: (Measures 167 to 224)The Light section introduces us to the beauty and joy of Heaven, the reunion with one's passed lovedones, and being in the presence of God. Flutes and low brass, followed by the trumpets and horns, markthe soul’s arrival in Heaven. The reunion of souls begin with the joyful noise of the high woodwinds.More souls reunite when the strings join in. Yet more souls join in as the horns and trumpets sound off.This section comes to a quiet end with the return of the once melancholy death themes, now in A majorrather than D minor, as the clarinets and horns join with the oboe and flutes to declare the victory overdeath and the quiet triumph of eternal life in the Light. In this new context, death has been denied andeternal life has won the day, again.Key changes to A major. The time signature returns to 5/4. The tempo is 72 beginning in measure 167. Starting in measure 215 the tempo slows to 50 at measure 219 as the piece comes to its finish inmeasure 224.Intended AudienceThis version has been composed with a high school/college/community orchestra in mind. Itsorchestration does not adhere 100% to the standard orchestra instrumentation in that I use three clarinetparts, three Bb trumpet parts, one bassoon part, and one oboe part (with no specific maximum limit ofplayers).

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