This sequence is based on the beautiful melody featured in the middle of Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity from Gustav Holst’s orchestral masterwork, The Planets. This sequence is dedicated to the British Trombone Society.
I have had the great pleasure to perform The Planets twice and hear it performed by both the Chicago Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. Every time I walk out of the hall after hearing it, I hear people whistling this tune, which is somehow regal, refined, joyous, humble, and heroic all at the same time.
There are arrangements for every sort of ensemble. From cello quartets and beginning band, to Trombone Ensemble (the pinnacle of all ensembles -.^). Despite its widespread acceptance and love, I knew nothing of this tune’s history (beyond the setting in Jupiter) before I started researching this blog post.
Holst called the tune Thaxted, named after the little town in Essex where he spent most of his life. The theme became so well known and loved that it was later adapted and combined with the Cecil Spring Rice poem, “I Vow to Thee My Country” which has become a patriotic anthem for England.
Hear the tune played by the CSO in the video below. Excerpt starts at 3:06.
Systems vs Goals: Unexpected benefits
When I started this #GetFluent2019 project, I knew that it would teach me a number of lessons. The system of creating my weekly post teaches me time management, music notation software, video editing, website design, and a whole host of other skills. I get those benefits even if nobody reads the blog, watches the videos, or plays the sequences.
For me, one of the greatest unexpected benefits of this project has been learning little nuggets of music history during my research and creation process. One of my favorite authors and thinkers, Scott Adams, talks about the value of systems over goals, and this unexpected benefit is a great example of why systems are GREAT.
Where can you bring systems into your life?
This melody is introduced by the horns and strings, passed to the trumpet and strings, and then finished off my the strings alone. It begins in a low-ish register and climbs multiple octaves to a heroic climax that is awe inspiring.
I find it easy for this melody to grind to a halt, so strive to keep the music moving forward. Phrase toward the downbeats and sing through the long notes. Summon up your favorite memories from your hometown to inspire your richest sounds. Holst specifically marked the parts Non-Legato, so only slur where marked and keep the rest of the notes clean and clear.
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