Keveli Music Band Publication

Talking Winds

for

Solo Trombone & Wind Ensemble

by

Kevin M. Walczyk

Grade 5-6   |   Duration: 23'35"
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Talking Winds was composed for trombonist Peter Ellefson and pays homage to the service of WWII Navajo Code Talkers and Pulitzer-prize winning war correspondent, Ernie Pyle. Utilizing primarily prose from Ernie Pyle, the concerto transforms the written word into music pitches that make up the work's complete melodic and harmonic language. The prose is further manipulated by applying cryptology methods from the 1945 Navajo Code Talkers' Dictionary. Serving with distinction in every major engagement of the Pacific theater from 1942-1945, the Navajo Code Talkers, also known as Windtalkers, transmitted secret communications using their native Navajo language, which was never decrypted by enemy forces.

Much of the prose that is transformed to pitch material in the concerto uses a simple ciphering process for each letter - English and Navajo. On a more sophisticated level - and similar to the ciphering process for Navajo Code Talkers, prose transformation utilizes both word-for-word and acrostic ciphering methods. This allows the work's development of melodic and harmonic content to be ciphered from English, encoded in Navajo, and decoded back to English, allowing for a natural musical process of exposition, development, and recapitulation.

The concerto's title is derived from the Navajo Code Talker's sobriquet, Windtalkers and the incorporation of the word "wind" from the selected prose. The title gains further significance from the wind ensemble that serves as accompanist to the trombone solo.

CodeTalker

Peter Ellefson, Trombone
Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Mallory Thompson, conductor

1. A Thousand Winds
2. The Summer Wind
3. A Passing Breeze…By The Multiple Thousands

Ernie PyleThe concerto’s opening movement takes its title from an anonymous prose – Do not stand at my grave weeping – and attributed to the United States Marines, to whom the majority of Navajo Code Talkers served and to whom Ernie Pyle was attached in 1945. A portion of the prose that is musically ciphered in the works first movement, entitled …thousand winds… states, I am a thousand winds drifting gently over the land…caring not where fate takes me, happy to flow through endless beauty…

In the fall of 1935, Pyle wrote a column, subsequently reprinted during the war years, in which he becomes “conscious of the wind”. Pyle wrote of his formative years in the Midwest, …the summer wind…one of the most melancholy things…in life…comes from so far away and blows so gently and yet so relentlessly; it rustles the leaves and the branches of the maple trees in a…symphony of sadness, and…doesn’t pass on and leave them still. It just keeps coming…You…wear out your lifetime on the dusty plains with that wind of futility blowing in your face. And when you are worn out and gone, the wind – still saying nothing, still so gentle and sad and timeless – is still blowing (across the prairies)…forever…the endlessness of it…lifetimes that would flow on forever, tiredly, patiently…it is eternity. These introspective words are musically ciphered throughout the concerto’s second movement, aptly titled, …the summer wind…

By the early spring of 1945 Ernie Pyle was in the South Pacific and began writing a column to mark the victory in Europe and what seemed the ultimate end to the war across the globe. He would never have a chance to complete it. The draft was found in Pyle’s pocket on April 18, 1945, after he was killed near Okinawa. At the end of this draft, in an attempt to describe the indescribable to a civilian nation away from the warfront, Pyle wrote in his final entry, …Dead men…Dead men by mass production…Dead men in winter and dead men in summer. Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous. Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them…We saw him, saw him by the multiple thousands… The final movement of the work musically ciphers these words. Ernie Pyle’s name has also been ciphered throughout the final movement, lamentably consigning him to his own, Dead men of mass production acknowledgment. The energetic outsets of the final movement reflect Pyle’s dawning hope of a world without war.

The Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mallory B. Thompson, premiered Talking Winds May 17, 2013 with trombone soloist, Peter Ellefson.

Ellefson5

Peter Ellefson enjoys a career of teaching at the finest institutions and performing with the finest ensembles. He holds the rank of Professor of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in addition to Lecturer and Artist-in-Residence positions at Northwestern University and Roosevelt University. He has performed, recorded and toured with the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, orchestras that he plays with frequently.

In 2002, Prof. Ellefson moved to Bloomington from Seattle where he had been a member of the Seattle Symphony since 1992. During his decade in Seattle, he made dozens of recordings with the orchestra, playing trombone, euphonium and bass trumpet and served as principal trombone for Seattle Opera’s renowned productions of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. Mr. Ellefson has participated in hundreds of recording sessions for motion pictures, IMAX, television and video games, working with such composers as Elmer Bernstein, Michael Giacchino, James Newton Howard, Michael Kamen, Basil Poledouris and Bill Conti. He has also backed entertainers as diverse as Linda Ronstadt, Burt Bacharach, Frank Sinatra Jr., Ray Charles, James Taylor, Manhattan Transfer and Yes.

Over the past 25 years, Prof. Ellefson has been fortunate to have studied with many of the finest low brass teachers including Joseph Alessi, Frank Crisafulli, Edward Kleinhammer, Jay Friedman, Arnold Jacobs, Mark Lawrence and M. Dee Stewart. His initial study was with Warren Baker at Linfield College, in McMinnville, Oregon, from which Mr. Ellefson graduated cum laude in 1984. Mr. Ellefson also holds a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University.

Peter Ellefson has a keen interest in chamber music and solo literature and has given concerto performances of works by such composers as Bloch, Bourgeois, Deemer, Dorsey, Grondahl, Guilmant, Larsson, Maslanka, Pryor, Pugh, Serocki, Tomasi, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rouse. He has extensive knowledge in the repertoire of both orchestral and chamber music and is also well versed in the commercial and jazz idioms. His chamber music credits include the Canadian Brass, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Brass Quintet, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet, Proteus 7 and Tower Brass of Chicago.

In addition to Indiana, Northwestern and Roosevelt Universities, Prof. Ellefson has also taught at the University of Costa Rica and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California and currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the International Trombone Association.

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PERFORMANCE CONSORTIUM

Keveli Music has long been dedicated to forming consortium commissioning projects in order to give performing organizations the opportunity to participate in the commissioning process without paying large commissioning fees. This is accomplished by asking multiple members of a consortium to share the commissioning fee. Keveli Music acknowledges Dr. Mallory Thompson, who served as the consortium coordinator, Peter Ellefson (for whom the concerto was composed) and the following band programs, their directors, and trombone soloists for participating in the consortium commissioning process that brought Talking Winds to life:

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Mallory Thompson, Director
Peter Ellefson, Soloist

AUGUSTANA COLLEGE Symphonic Band
James Lambrecht, Director
Samantha Keehn, Soloist

EASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY Wind Symphony
Alicia M. Neal, Director
Jemmie Robertson, Soloist

GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Robert J. Ambrose, Director
William Mann, Soloist

INDIANA UNIVERSITY Wind Ensemble
Stephen W. Pratt, Director
Peter Ellefson, Soloist

OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY Wind Ensemble
Christopher Chapman, Director
Peter Ellefson, Soloist

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA Wind Ensemble
Kenneth Ozzello, Director
Jonathan Whitaker, Soloist

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS Wind Ensemble
Paul W. Popiel, Director
Michael Davidson, Soloist

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI Wind Ensemble
D. Bradley Snow, Director
Timothy Howe, Soloist

VIRGINIA TECH Wind Ensemble
Travis J. Cross & Andrew Putnam, Directors
Jay Crone, Soloist

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY Wind Ensemble
Danh T. Pham, Director
Peter Ellefson, Soloist

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WIND ENSEMBLE INSTRUMENTATION

Talking Winds is a grade 5-6 work. It is difficult for most high school wind ensembles and challenging, yet suitable for most college-level wind ensembles.


solo trombone
flutes 1-33rd doubles piccolo
oboe
english horn
sopranino clarinet
clarinets 1-3
bass clarinet
contra-alto clarinet
bassoons 1-2
alto saxophones 1-2
tenor saxophone
baritone saxophone
horns 1-4
trumpets 1-3
trombones 1-43rd is bass
euphoniumB.C. & T.C.
tuba
timpani2 drums
percussion 1vibraphone, xylophone, & snare drum
percussion 2marimba, large chinese cymbal, & bass drum
percussion 3chimes, glockenspiel, tam-tam,, & crash cymbals
percussion 4small triangle, suspended cymbal, 4 tomtoms, snare drum, & tambourine
harp
string bass