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David Maslanka

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On this Arizona Encore we are taking a deep dive in the music of American composer David Maslanka, and discovering what guided him to create his compositions.

Maslanka, born in Massachusetts, has called the sea “the dream image of the unconscious,” and the seashore was the sea’s connecting point to his conscious mind. His love for the sea along with his studies and engagements as a guest artist took him around the world paved the way for him to develop a love for American folk songs and hymn tunes. We open with a performance of the third movement from the Seventh Symphony – a symphony for wind band, which is marked “Very fast,” then we follow into the fourth movement, marked “Moderately slow,” where Maslanka described the piece as “a simple song of peace and healing.” 

Before beginning the second and final piece on this program, we will briefly hear from ASU’s director of wind bands Jason Caslor who gives some insight into Maslanka’s A Child’s Garden of Dreams, a commissioned work by Maslanka that he wrote when he was 38 years old. During this time Maslanka was living in New York City and teaching music composition while becoming interested in psychology, psychotherapy, and meditation. He would incorporate self-hypnosis and lucid dreaming into his meditative exercises, noticing specific symbols in his “mental landscape” that he translated into music.

Captivated by the writings of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, Maslanka found inspiration from one of Jung’s books that described a series of dreams a young girl had at the age of 8. The descriptions of those five dreams are the headings of each movement, the heading for the dream that inspired the first movement reads this way: “There is a desert on the moon where the dreamer sinks so deeply into the ground that she reaches hell.” The second movement bears the heading, “A drunken woman falls into the water and comes out renewed and sober.” The third: “A horde of small animals frightens the dreamer. The animals increase to a tremendous size, and one of them devours the little girl.” For the fourth movement, “A drop of water is seen as it appears when looked at through a microscope. The girl sees that the drop is full of tree branches. This portrays the origin of the world.” And finally, the fifth movement describes “An ascent into heaven where pagan dances are being celebrated; and a descent into hell where angels are doing good deeds.”

In this presentation of Arizona Encore we get the opportunity to showcase two of America’s outstanding college wind bands, the wind symphony from Texas Christian University, and the ASU Wind Ensemble. 

Featuring performances by Texas Christian University Wind Symphony; Bobby Francis, conductor; Arizona State University Wind Ensemble; and Jason Caslor, conductor.

Program
Maslanka - Symphony No. 7
III. Very Fast
IV. Moderately slow
Maslanka - A Child’s Garden of Dreams
I. There is a desert on the moon where the dramer sinks so deeply into the ground that she reaches hell.
II. A drunken woman falls into the water and comes out renewed and sober.
III. A horde of small animals frightens the dreamer. The animals increase to a tremendous size, and one of them devours the little girl.
IV. A drop of water is seen as it appears when looked at through a microscope. The girl sees that the drop is full of tree branches. This portrays the origin of the world.
V, An ascent into heaven where pagan dances are being celebrated; and a descent into hell where angels are doing good deeds.

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