SKU: Genesis Category:


GENESIS for wind ensemble

Commissioned by the North Dakota State University Challey School of Music in recognition of the retirement of Dr. Warren D. Olfert, Director of Bands
Premiered on April 27, 2024 

duration: 13 minutes


piccolo, flute 1-2, oboe, bassoon, B! clarinet 1-2, bass clarinet
alto saxoph!one 1-2, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
horn 1-3, B trumpet 1-3, trombone 1-2, bass trombone, euphonium, tuba double bass, piano
percussion 1-4

Percussion 1: Crotales, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Vibraphone, Cow Bell, Splash Cymbal, Tambourine
Percussion 2: Wind Chimes, Hi-Hat, Tambourine, D.S. Snare Drum, Xylophone, Sus Cym, Wood Block, Crotales, Vibes, Tam-tam Percussion 3: Sus Cym., Piccolo Snare Drum, Wood Block, Ride Cym, D.S. Snare Drum, Chimes
Percussion 4: Sus Cym., Bass Drum, Triangle

Program Notes:

Several years ago, I was invited to the campus of North Dakota State University for a composer-residency while we performed my L’histoire du soldat “sequel”, The Devil’s Tale. As is always the case, one looks forward to learning the dynamic of the musical environment, as well as that of the individual in charge. When I met that person, Warren Olfert, I was immediately struck by a man completely in love with music, and a man very well-versed in the history of his craft. Similarly, he was always in search of more knowledge by which to improve that craft.

We enjoyed talks of Mahler, and talks about beverages, sports, travel, etc. What I didn’t expect, however, was an avid discussion about one of his favorite ROCK bands: Genesis. Upon my departure from campus, he sent me several links to early Genesis, from the early 1970s, so that I might bone up on my rock history knowledge. Of course, at that time, I listened a little bit, but didn’t think it might come into play later on. Fast-forward to late 2023, and I get a call to see if I might be interested in writing a new piece for Warren’s retirement concert to be held in spring, 2024.
Upon discussions with Warren, it became apparent that he might want some sort of “tone-poem”, rather than the usual fanfare, concerto, overture, or symphony. But beyond that, he completely left it up to me. I was reminded of those Genesis recordings, and I went searching. The more I listened, the more I began to discover that the 1970s Genesis tunes were actually like tone-poems in and of themselves, and the idea hit me: that I would write a wind ensemble tone poem inspired by the music of Genesis.
Therefore, what follows is music that contains no direct quotes (that would be illegal), but instead espouses the Genesis sound-world, and mimics some of their harmonic language. I tried to imagine that Peter Gabriel might even be singing my tunes as I crafted my melodies. Specifically, Warren pointed out to me that a live performance of “Carpet Crawler” from Rome may have been the last song the group sang together; therefore, being this would be Warren’s last concert, it is that song I hint at the most, especially while creating the last tune at the end of my “tone poem”.

I do a couple of other things to represent Warren in my “Genesis”. At the onset, the trombones (with help from the horns) get to start off what is essentially a three-note figure. This becomes my “Doc-tor O” motif, which gets repeated and used throughout the piece in various forms. This is because trombone is Warren’s instrument. Also, it will be noticed that all of the “chapters” of my tone-poem are labelled with beer names. Warren has taken up the craft of brewing beer lately, and he is quite good and dedicated to it, so I thought I’d reference that in the piece. The music is not necessarily meant to sound like the beer; it’s just my way of having fun.

I chose Genesis as the title in order to obviously reference the rock band. But the word also has another meaning: “the origin or mode of formation of something.” I know that even though he is retiring, there is no way Warren will stop seeking knowledge to try to constantly better himself. To me, this retirement is just the ‘genesis’ of a new Warren.

I sincerely want to thank John Miller, the Director of the Performing Arts Division at the Challey School of Music at NDSU, for entrusting to me this very special project, and for his support in making sure we did all of this as well as we could for Warren.
And lastly, I want to thank Warren for all of the fun, for all of the conversations, and for the inspiration that

allowed me to do something like this. Have a great retirement, Warren! Jim Stephenson ~ March 11, 2024

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