||A NEW HOMELAND by Curtis Wilson
(Overture for Wind Ensemble or Band - 8 minutes)
(excerpts from movements 3 and 4 of UKRAINIAN DANCES)
For Professor Bobby Francis and the Texas Christian University Wind Symphony
The UKRAINIAN DANCES is a 5-movement suite inspired by a concert tour of the (former) Soviet Union, Ukraine, and Poland taken by the Texas Christian University Jazz Ensemble in May-June of 1979. During a visit to an elementary school in Kiev, we were presented with a brief but inspirational concert by the school choir directed by two sisters. Many of their songs were composed by one of the sisters who, following the concert, allowed me to write-down one of her tunes while she played it on the piano during which time my students were touring the school with the principal and our KGB person. Her "tune" serves as an important motif for the entire suite - I can still see and hear her delightful students singing as I write this. Most of the other tunes in the suite were taken from a Ukrainian folk-song choral album given to me as a departing gift. A NEW HOMELAND is taken from the 3rd movement (entitled "Reflections") which is all original material and is purely Tex-Mex Ukrainian combined with the introduction of the 4th movement ("Praise To The Wedding Couple").
UKRAINIAN DANCES was written in 1980-81 and first performed by the TCU Wind Ensemble , directed by Robert Blanton, in 1982. I was later commissioned to transcribe it for chamber orchestra and that version was premiered by the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra , conducted by Maestro John Giordano, on December 18, 1984. In 1998, I was asked by TCU Orchestra director Dr. German Gutierrez to expand it for full symphony orchestra where it was performed in 1999 and 2008.
I would like to thank TCU Director of Bands Bobby Francis for suggesting (and staying on me about it......) that I extract a "stand-alone" section of the original suite and provide a shorter version for more practical programming.
A NEW HOMELAND is a brief glimpse of the entire suite but contains all of the spirit, beauty and excitment that is to be found in Ukrainian/Russian/Slavic music.
A NEW HOMELAND is dedicated to the many Slavic peoples of Texas. The Slavic immigrants created a new homeland and helped forge a new culture onto our land and helped make Texas the great passionate state that it is today.