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Deo Gracias

God Be Thanked

By Guy Woolfenden

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Concert band (Flute 1/Piccolo*, Flute 2, Oboe 1, Oboe 2*, Bb Clarinet 1, Bb Clarinet 2, Bb Clarinet 3, Eb Alto Clarinet*, Bb Bass Clarinet*, Bassoon 1, Bassoon 2*, Alto Saxophone 1, Alto Saxophone 2*, Tenor Saxophone*, Baritone Saxophone*, Horn in F 1, Horn in F 2, Hor) - grade 4
God Be Thanked. Composed by Guy Woolfenden. Band Music. Score and parts. Duration 6:00. Published by G & M Brand Music Publishers (CN.R10041).

Item Number: CN.R10041

Originally written to accompany the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Henry V, the 3-movement "Deo Gracias" follows the coronation of King Henry V, the victory of the Battle of Agincourt, the betrothal of King Henry and Princess Katharine of France and ends with the optimistic and jaunty 'King's March.'

The "Deo Gracias" suite is in three movements: I. Coronation March, II. Canon, III. The King's March. The musical motif which holds the work together also inspired its title: Deo Gracias (God be thanked). The words come from an anonymous poem celebrating the British victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt on October 25, 1415. As Head of music to the Royal Shakespeare Company, Guy Woolfenden has composed music for 150 productions, and Deo Gracias, like his first major work for band, Gallimantry, is based on music first written for the R.S.C. In 1975, Terry Hands (Artistic Director of the R.S.C. with Trevor Nunn) directed Henry V, starring Alan Howard, to celebrate the centenary of the Stratford Theatre. The production was a tremendous success playing to capacity audiences, including, on one memorable occasion, Her Majesty, The Queen. Henry V's 'Coronation March' rightly belongs at the end of Shakespeare's Henry IV plays - in Terry Hands' production, the King, dressed from head to foot in gold, processed the full depth of an all-white stage while every lamp was rasied to full power. The music reflects this stage picture with a broad flowing melody, sinister and heraldic by turns, interestingly, it is in a minor key. The 'Canon' which follows, gives scope for the woodwind, horns and glockenspiel to play solo in multiple canon and imitation. In the play, this music supported the famous final speech of the character known as 'Chorus' who sums up the harmonious peace, achieved both by the victory at Agincourt and the betrothal of King Henry and Princess Katharine of France. For the final movement, the canon theme is reworked as 'The King's March,' which, with its optimistic rhythm and jaunty melody almost demands to be whistled.

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