ARISE for Wind Symphony
created in collaboration with
The Quabbin HS Symphonic Winds, Peter Lewis, conductor
Grade 5-6

Perusal Score: ARISE


See below for Composer Notes and VLOGS
VLOG 1a - Notes on Score Study
VLOG 1b - More Notes on Score Study
VLOG 2 -
Notes for Flutes
VLOG 3 -
Notes for Clarinets
VLOG 4 -
Notes for Saxophones


The importance of the times in which this piece was written cannot be overstated.  The major events
shaping our world in the years 2020 and 2021  --  worldwide pandemic, racial tension and violence,
unsustainable political and social vitriol and aggression, wars around the world, and catastrophic
environmental events --  shaped the thoughts of the students and myself as we created this composition.  
I wanted to compose a work that reflect
s the complexity and range of the students’ and my thoughts and
feelings during this time, from the darkest hours of isolatio
n and ennui, to the unique moments of shared
community and joy.  But if the students and I intend this piece to bring any essential meaning to the
listener, it is that peace, hope, and positive understanding will ARISE when we decide to face our
challenges with resilience, and sustain our will, passion, and effort to overcome them.   

The Process

Students composed essays and notes about their experiences and feelings in Fall, 2020 at the peak of
the pandemic.

Students collaborated on the lyrics of a song with Mark Schwaller
of Mean Green Music Machine entitled
“We Can Do This”. (These four words can be “heard” in ARISE as the four strongly declared chords
before the coda.)  The idea of overcoming obstacles with sustained hope and determination is central to
the narrative of this work.

From the essays and lyrics, I selected certain quotes or ideas that were consistently mentioned by
students, and listed those that had potential to be expressed in this composition

In groups, students were assigned some of the quotes from the list and asked how they might be
expressed musically.  I also asked them more open questions such as “What do you hope future young
musicians who play this piece will experience?” to gain a sense of what they hoped for from my work.

After ruminating on their ideas and meeting with them to discuss the piece, I developed musical ideas and
composed.  When the work was complete, I sent the ensemble parts and asked them to consider a title.  
ARISE was suggested by the students, which I thought was an excellent characterization of the piece.   

The Piece

While the piece doesn’t have a specific program, it does follow a kind of narrative arc, as shown below.   
Understanding the arc is fundamental to achieving a satisfying performance.                                         

Introduction: Fanfare, youthful energy, optimism

A section: A dark, ominous, threatening, instability comes
on suddenly, with two strong pulses
representing a “heartbeat” motif heard t
hroughout the piece in a variety of presentations; the dark music
is contrasted just as suddenly with an introspective Lullaby - a beautiful song of
caring, intimacy and
innocence, but also haunt
ed by an ever present anxiety and moments of listless ennui.  This theme
returns later in a variety of forms and characters.

B section:  Minimalist, polyrhythmic, aleatoric.  Anxiety, hyperbole, fear, anger, tension, aggression,
conflict, violence builds to chaotic climax.

C section: “Lullaby” motive returns, aleatoric bird calls signal awakening and light, a way forward.

D section: Tone-filled consonant brass signal introspection and calm.

E section: “Heartbeat” returns, signaling positivity and new energy.  Percussion lead us back to the
youthful fanfare.

F section: A Dance – A celebratory statement of realization and positivity, signaling the hopeful way
forward! “We Can Do This”

Coda: An affirmation.
composer and conductor : : robert spittal
Click here for the HOME page

Price: $175, score & parts