Oh, What a Morning!
For wind ensemble, grade 4
The image of the dawn of a new morning appears frequently in traditional African-American spiritual texts. In these cases, the new morning is usually used as a metaphor for heaven where the darkness of sin and death will be totally eradicated by pure light. Oh, What a Morning begins by depicting the first rays of heavenly sunrise breaking through the darkness while a “gospel quartet” of saxophones plays a peaceful yet longing chorale. As the heavenly morning fully dawns, rejoicing breaks out - subdued at first, but later becoming more and more jubilant. The celebration of the new morning is underpinned by lively syncopated rhythms. Eventually the celebration settles into a “Hallelujah chorus” out of which three soloists emerge to play improvisatory melodies over hand-clapping and stomping in the rest of the ensemble. Finally, all of the themes that have appeared up to this point in the piece are combined to form one final ecstatic celebration of eternal light. Oh, What a Morning! was commissioned by Robert Schwartzer for the Hopewell Valley HS Band of Pennington, NJ.