SYMPHONY NO. 4 – UNFORSAKEN was commissioned by the Musashino Academia Musicae Wind Ensemble, directed by Ray E. Cramer, and commemorates the 2017 opening of the academy’s new facilities. The commissioning ensemble premiered the work on July 11, 2017 at the Opera City Concert Hall in Tokyo Japan.
The work’s primary pitch materials come from the ciphering of the word Musashino and multiple Japanese modes, including Akebono, Hirajōshi, Insen, Iwato, Min’yō, and Yō.
The Symphony’s form utilizes a palindromic 5-part arch, or bridge form [ A – B – C – B’ – A’ ]. The A sections are further broken down into a ternary structure that includes, in the outsets of the section, the Musashino call motive. In between the two calls, beginning in measure 31, is the work’s powerful fanfare. The final ‘A’ section of the Symphony, beginning in measure 305, repeats this formal layout. The close of the Symphony reprises the call motive and brief interjections of melodic motives from the entire work.
The Symphony’s ‘B’ sections comprise the energetic scherzo (beginning in measures 84 and 270 respectively) that features the Japanese Min’yō mode.
The middle ‘C’ section also utilizes a ternary structure in which call motives (measures 176 and 251 respectively) serve as the bookends to the composer’s lyrical Emblems of Sacrifice hymn (beginning in measure 186). The hymn was the product of a grade 2-3 commissioned work by the same title, Emblems of Sacrifice, but the composer wanted to expand the hymn’s compositional possibilities and has done so here.
The Symphony’s title, Unforsaken, is in response to another work by the composer that was composed for the Musashino Academia Musicae Wind Ensemble entitled, Eloi, Eloi, which asks the question, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). SYMPHONY NO. 4 – UNFORSAKEN answers this inquiry with God’s response, “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:20]. The connection to the two works is also referenced through melodic pitch content and contour, in which the Symphony’s motives to both the scherzo and hymn are similar to the opening motif in Eloi, Eloi.