NEW & RECENT
UPCOMING PREMIERES OF NEW VIOLA WORK
Love Among the Ruins is a new work for Viola and Wind Ensemble commissioned by a consortium of 14 universities organized by Dr. Matthew Schlomer, conductor at the Interlochen Arts Academy. The 17 minute work will have premieres this Spring at Interlochen Arts Academy, Emory University, University of Texas - San Antonio, and the University of South Carolina. More premieres coming next Fall. Will be available to all after May 30, 2017.
In addition to recordings on this website you can also hear them at my SoundCloud page at: https://soundcloud.com/james-syler
WU XING Concertino for Two Percussion and Band
The Wu Xing (pronounced wu-hsing) are the traditional Chinese five phases - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. “Wu” refers to the number 5 and “Xing” the phases.The work features two solo percussionists playing a variety of sounds organized by instruments made of, or representing, metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. The final "Earth" section uses two bass drums playing a 5-note rhythm, in five phrases, of five rhythms each, that grows in power to the end. Very unique and playable by high schools and above. Winner of the 2016 CBDNA Young Band Composition Award.
"Wu Xing is a versatile, colorful work that fills a much-needed spot in the wind band repertoire. Musically enriching and technically accessible, our ensemble has had a wonderful time collaborating on the piece. Through its thoughtfully constructed sections and inherent energy, Syler has created yet another composition of real value."
~ Dr. John Zarco, The University of Texas at San Antonio
“Wu Xing has it all! The energy and colors that Syler includes appeal to the performer and audience member alike. This work is highly accessible to a wide range of groups, yet offers a collaborative experience that musicians of all ages can’t help but to grow from. Wu Xing is a truly worthy addition
~ Dan Harbaugh, Mt. Vernon High School, Mt. Vernon, Missouri
Grade 4, 10 minutes, Score & Parts $150, Extra Score $30
See a performance on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/UORcaK6i2e0
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
Winner of the 1993 National Band Association Award and the 1993 Arnald Gabriel Award sponsored by the United States Air Force Band. For many years only available in manuscript on rental. Now available for purchase with a newly engraved score and parts. A programmatic symphony in six movements based on the poem of the same name by poet Francis Thompson. Features a solo antiphonal trumpet and an eclectic mix of styles to emphasize the poem's drama. Minimalism, 12-tone writing, post-romanticism, tonality and atonality exist side by side and are held together by the work's melodic through-line.
Grade 5, 17 minutes, Score & Parts $195, Extra Score $60
for African Drums and Wind Ensemble
This latest work had the first of 12 premieres at The University of Maryland on February 27, 2015 in a performance of the trilogy "Three Places in Jazz". The concert will feature Congo Square, along with its companion pieces Storyville and Minton's Playhouse. Congo Square was commissioned by a consortium of 12 universities.
This work uses four hand drummers playing Bata, Djembe, and Boula drums (substitutes recommended in the score if not available) in front of the ensemble. The opening music quotes an authentic Konkoba war dance in 3/4. The polyrhythms of the drums grow in intensity. The middle section quotes Salangadou, an old Creole song about a mother in search of her abducted child. Near the end of the work an early jazz style song emerges in a stomp style to suggest the new music that will eventually grow out of Congo Square. These three musics - the African drums, a Creole song, and early jazz - overlap to produce the emotional zenith of the work as you hear the past, present, and future simultaneously. In the end, the drums get the last word. Very playable by high schools and above. Will be available for sale after May 1, 2016
“A marvelous composition that successfully combines history, a palpable sense of place and time, and musical evolution. The chance to incorporate authentic African drumming with very playable wind writing is novel and effective. Audiences were moved and enthusiastic after hearing this fine new work.”
~ Dr. William J. Hochkeppel, University of Louisiana
Grade 5, 12 minutes, Score & Parts $170, Extra Score $50
THE TEMPTATION OF SAINT ANTHONY
for Chorus and Wind Ensemble
On March 25, 2014 the Texas A&M University Commerce premiered this new work for chorus and winds titled The Temptation of Saint Anthony at the beautiful Meyerson Symphony Hall in Dallas. Led by Phillip Clements, the work was commissioned by the music department of Texas A&M University Commerce, Phillip Clements, Director of Bands and Randall Hooper, Director of Choral Activities.
Anthony of Egypt (251-356) was a 3rd century hermit, saint, and father of monasticism in the early church. His life and account of being tempted and tormented in the Egyptian desert were popularized through the first hand account of Athanasius (296-373) in his book The Life of Antony. I’ve approached the Temptation of St. Anthony as an analogy for the process of temptation - approach, doubt, temptation, torment, relief, and joy. The music is filled with drama, sensuality, horror, and strangely enough, joy. SATB chorus and standard wind ensemble instrumentation.
Duration: 18', Parts Rental $400, Score for Sale $60
Listen at: https://soundcloud.com/james-syler/the-temptation-of-saint-anthony-for-chorus-and-winds