Fortress Fanfare (Grade 4)
When David Rush and I began discussing the piece that he asked me to write for his wind ensemble at Craig High School, we explored many possible options for the structure and inspiration for the piece. However, I was particularly struck by the appropriateness of using the hymn tune A Mighty Fortress as a unifying element in the piece. Not only was it one of David's favorite tunes, but the reference to a "fortress" seemed perfect for a piece dedicated to the completion of a new building project.
From that point, the entire piece was built using materials from the hymn tune. As I looked at the word "fortress" it occurred to me that the first syllable is the number 4. This led to the idea of using 4 as a significant number throughout the piece. For instance, the melodic materials are based on fourths. One theme uses stacked fourths for its melodic and harmonic structure. The other theme, taken from the original tune, uses an encompassed fourth (the four scalar notes within the interval of a fourth). Additionally, the piece is in four sections, each corresponding roughly to one of the phrases from the original hymn tune. In the end, though, I wanted this piece to be celebratory and worthy of the festive occasion for which it was composed. Hopefully it is!
Fortress Fanfare was commissioned by the Craig High School Wind Ensemble (Janesville, WI), David Rush, director, in celebration of the completion of the Craig High School renovation. Funding was made possible by the Cougar Band Boosters, Dr. Michael Kuehne (Craig High School principal), the Janesville Education Foundation, and the Craig High School PTO.