this is most certainly true
for concert band
piccolo, 2 flutes, alto flute, 2 oboes, english horn, 2 bassoons Eb clarinet (opt), 3 Bb clarinets, bass clarinet soprano sax (cross-cued), alto, tenor, bari saxophones 4 horns, 3 Bb trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, bass trombone euphonium (2 players), tuba harp, double bass timpani +
percussion (6 players)
Chimes (separate part included) Vibes, Marimba, Orch Bells, Crotales (bowed, + dipped in water) Sus Cymb, Cymb a2, TamTam, Triangle Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Large “hammer-on-door” sound
Program notes — from the composer:
When Jim Ripley – director of instrumental studies at Carthage College – approached me about this project, I knew two things almost immediately: that I wanted to write a slow work, and that I wanted to experiment with a constant Bb throughout the entire piece. When he suggested the title of “this is most certainly true” – paying homage to the Lutheran faith – I knew that my Bb now had a part to play in this whole narrative.
I chose to represent “true” with a Bb. Therefore, the Bb is sustained/repeated throughout each and every measure, while suspense, resolution, trials and tribulations surround it. So – in short: Bb remains most certainly true.
The piece first opens with a mystical medieval setting, setting up space for the opening Martin Luther theme. One might imagine an isolated Luther (low clarinet melody at measure 15), quietly getting angry about the way things are going with the religious practices around him – namely the selling of indulgences in return for the forgiveness of sins – and that his frustration builds, builds, until finally (at letter D) he nails his 95 theses to the door. After this, the work grows quiet again – but only briefly, as his rebellion gathers followers, and grows in strength and numbers, bringing us into the present day of celebrating 500 years. Finally, the piece removes all dissonance and ends in the key of Bb, with the last of 95 chime strokes.
Even if there were struggles, the faith – “this – (was) most certainly true” all along. The Bb was there the whole time.
At letter D, “Large hammer” is written in the score. This may take experimentation in each situation, so as to find the proper sound for the room in which it is being performed. It needs to be deep, loud, and booming.
As there is no other note, the chime player may choose to single-hang the one chime on a stand and put it stage-right, at the edge of the band, and visible to the audience. If too boring to be done by the same player – perhaps all percussionists can find a way to get in on the act.
Lastly – purely by coincidence – without even thinking about it – the piece ended up being 94 measures. So I added one measure. I think this bears mentioning.
Jim Stephenson, June 1, 2017
I would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to those who participated in bringing this consortium together:
Dr. James C. Ripley – lead consortium member – Carthage College
Joseph Blaha, Roanoke College
Robert Rams, Wagner College
Colin Unger, Augustana (SD) University
Bruce McWilliams, Augsburg College
James Lambrecht, Augustana (IL) College Claudio Re, Bethany College
Michael Hart, California Lutheran University
Jeff Gershman, Capital University
Rich Fischer, Concordia (IL) University
Peter Haberman, Concordia (MN) College
Mark Doerffel, Grand View University
James Patrick Miller, Gustavus Adolphus College Dan Kiser, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Joan de Albuquerque, Luther College
Russell McCutcheon, Gettysburg College
Rex Barker, Midland University
Jerry Gatch, Newberry College
Ed Powell, Pacific Lutheran University
Tim Mahr, St. Olaf College
Eric Hinton, Susquehanna University
Beth Bronk, Texas Lutheran University
Andy Erb, Thiel College
Jeff Doebler, Valparaiso University
Craig Hancock, Wartburg College
Terry Treuden, Wisconsin Lutheran College Brandon Jones, Wittenberg University