America, the Beautiful (score & parts)
- Composer: David R. Gillingham
- Publisher: C. Alan Publications
David Gillingham’s gorgeous setting of the ever-popular America, the Beautiful seeks to preserve the beauty of the hymn, while simultaneously transcending some of the harmonies and scoring we have grown to expect over the years, without straying too far from its simple beauty.
In 1882, Samuel A. Ward wrote the music for the hymn, O Mother dear, Jerusalem. Three years later, in 1895, Katherine Lee Bates published her poem “America.” In 1910, it was combined with Ward’s music and published as America, the Beautiful. Sadly, Samuel Ward died in 1903 and never knew the national prominence his music would achieve.
There have been numerous arrangements of this inspirational patriotic hymn since its birth and there will certainly be many more, as it is a favorite of both the American people and many composers. While this arrangement seeks to preserve the beauty of the hymn, it transcends some of the harmonies and scoring we have grown to expect over the years, without straying too far from its simple beauty. Beginning in B-flat major, the introduction utilizes motives from the 1st and 2nd phrases of the hymn with a transient modulation to A major and then back to B-flat major for the first verse of the hymn. The first verse in saturated with passing tones and intermittent counterpoint using motives of the hymn while the hymn tune is passed from horns and trumpets to the low brass. The second verse begins with the horns and alto saxophones against a backdrop of triplet figures by the woodwinds, orchestra bells and vibraphone. Flutes and clarinets begin the next phrase and are soon joined, tour de force, by the full ensemble modulating to D-flat major for the final two phrases. A coda follows, building upon the “Oh Beautiful” motive from the first phrase and rising to a grand and majestic conclusion.
- SKU (Item #): 24260
- Level: Grade 3
- Duration: 3:00