Theresa Martin

A passion for music

Radiance (2012) 
(sound clip 1) (sound clip 2) (sound clip 3) (sound clip 4) 
Duration: ca. 6:00 
Instrumentation: Concert Band 
Premiere: Mar. 15, 2013 by UW Fox Valley, Menasha, WI 
Program Notes:

The initial inspiration behind Radiance came to me when reading about music and its healing properties. Ancient philosophers believed that everything is in motion, everything is vibrating or emanating energy, and everything has a frequency. Some ancient musicians and philosophers also believed that music represented a microcosm, or miniature, of the order of the universe. The rhythms of music reflected everything from the movement of galaxies and stars to days and nights, and even the birth and death of our own cells. These concepts formed the basis of the practice of music as a healing force.

Throughout history, the simple principle continually applied in music is the movement away from and back to a tonal center. This idea is present in the beginning and end of my piece; however, rather than thinking of it as a tonal center, I envisioned it as a “principal frequency.” I imagined further that, before birth we are enfolded within a principal frequency, at birth we move away from it, throughout life we are resonated by it, and at death we return to it. This is the basis behind the form of the piece.

Two related concepts inspired the title, which came to me in the early stages of composing, as I was forming the concept of the piece. First is the concept of one’s aura, made up of a web of pulsating vibrational energies completely surrounding one’s self. Second is the idea that all forces of the universe are movements which radiate from their own center in circular waves in all directions.

In the beginning and end of the piece, the sustained chords in the brass over layers of fast swinging rhythms represent the different pulsating vibrational energies of the aura, made up of different wave lengths, rhythms, and frequencies. The two middle sections, consisting of driving, dance-like rhythms and contrasting melodies, represent a vigorous and spirited pace of life, as well as the joy of living.

-Theresa Martin, Nov. 2012