Fortress
by Frank Ticheli
--
Grade
4

Frank Ticheli (born 1958, Monroe, Louisiana) joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition. He is widely known for his works for concert band, many of which have become standards in the repertoire. In addition, Ticheli has a substantial body of orchestral music which has received considerable recognition in the U.S. and Europe. Orchestral performances have come from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Dallas Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, the radio orchestras of Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Saarbruecken, and Austria, and the orchestras of Austin, Charlotte, Colorado, Haddonfield, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, Jacksonville, Long Island, Louisville, Lubbock, Memphis, Nashville, Omaha, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, San Antonio, San Jose, and others. From 1991 to 1998, Ticheli was Composer in Residence of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and he still enjoys a close working relationship with that orchestra and their conductor, Carl St. Clair. Awards for his music include two from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Walter Beeler Memorial Prize, and First Prize awards in the Texas Sesquicentennial Orchestral Composition Competition, Britten-on-the-Bay Choral Composition Contest, and Virginia CBDNA Symposium for New Band Music. Commissions and grants have come from Chamber Music America, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Chorale, Revelli Foundation, Kappa Kappa Psi, Prince George’s Philharmonic Orchestra, Adrian Symphony, City of San Antonio, Stephen F. Austin State University, University of Michigan, University of Miami, Trinity University, Indiana Bandmasters Association, Worldwide Concurrent Premieres, and others. Frank Ticheli received his doctoral and masters degrees in composition from The University of Michigan where he studied with William Albright, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, and George Wilson. His works are published by Manhattan Beach, Helicon, Hinshaw, and Encore Music, and are recorded on the labels of Koch International Classics, Albany, Klavier, and Mark Records.

Year of publication: 1988

Publisher: Manhattan Music

Grade: 4

Type of composition: Variation

Style: Moderate tempo

Programming suggestions: Fortress was composed in 1988 and received its premiere performance by the Batawagama Youth Camp Band in Iron County, Michigan, Donald Schleicher, conductor, on June 25, 1988.

Solo instruments: alto sax, cornet, flute, clarinet, oboe, horn.

Anecdotal notes: Section I (Beginning – measure 53): The piece begins in the percussion very quietly. All three players should be in equal balance. It is crucial that the timpani be tuned precisely as indicated. The main idea of the piece, first appearing at measure 12, dominates this section. Careful attention to balance and intonation should be given to the low brass stating the idea. Section II (measures 54 – 70): The “call motif” is developed canonically at the tritone, first as a two-part canon in tutti, then as a four-part canon by soloists. The soloists should be of equal balance. Section III (measures 71 – 107): The “legato theme” is developed through several keys, and the entire section builds gradually from piano to fortissimo. The “main idea” is recalled at measures 83 – 87 (trombones/euphonium) and at measures 96 – 99 (trumpets/horns), but it is always subordinate to the “legato theme.” At measures 100 – 106, the “legato theme” is passed from group to group, but it is always marked “bring out.” Section IV (measures 108 – 123): The “legato theme” is now in diminution over marcato chords in the low brass and low woodwinds. This evolves into a brief recollection of the main idea in tutti. The entire section must be very precise, but without losing intensity. A brief restatement of the legato theme at measures 122 – 123. Section V (CODA): Material from throughout the piece is recalled over a tonic pedal. The section begins very quietly and mysteriously, then gradually builds to the end. The conductor should not slow down too much at the poco rit. (measures 155 – 157). The first trumpets have the greatest responsibility in re-establishing the “a tempo” at measure 158. Errors in printing: Tenor Saxophone, measure 60: missing staccato dots (also missing from cues in Alto Saxophone 1)

# Horn 1 and 2, measure 93, beat 1: B flat, not B natural. Tuba, measure 109, beat 2 1/2: B natural, as in score, not D natural as in part. Bass Clarinet, measure 112, beat 3 1/2: F sharp, as in score, not F natural as in part. Alto Saxophone 1, measure 117, beat 1: Should be a dotted quarter note, not quarter note. All Horns, measure 148, beat 1: eighth note followed by eighth rest, not quarter note. Tenor Saxophone, measure 152, beat 4: Should be a Gb, not Ab. Key changes may be confusing to students. Articulations must be performed well to achieve full effect of the piece. Many musical terms are written in an odd manner (ex. soli=bring out). Repeated passages many pose a problem for students to follow.

Discography: Blue Shades:The Music of Frank Ticheli. Michigan State University Wind Symphony,

John L. Whitwell, conductor. Mark Masters.



Recording of "Fortress"