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De Profundis

for massed winds

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I’ve respectfully borrowed the term massed winds from the 1932 masterwork Angels And Devils (“for massed flutes”) by the great Henry Brant, but the title itself is from Psalm 130 (de profundis clamavi ad te Domine), a Penitential psalm sometimes incorporated into the Latin Requiem, and set to music by composers for hundreds of years. Commissioned by the Central Oklahoma Directors Association—for an ensemble of some 110 souls—the work is designed to use the largest (massed) ensemble possible to its greatest possible effect.

The medieval de profundis plainchant incipit, a gorgeous modal tune lamenting “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD” winds its way throughout the work, transforming from lyrical chanting to the core of angry chorales. For much of the work the percussion consists mostly of different kinds of drums (2 bass drums, 2 sets of detuned timpani, 4 tom-toms, and 3 roto-toms). The drums lead a sound-world of ritualism, which the ensemble often realizes from aleatoric notation: improvisatory gestures played at the discretion of the players. Like a classic chiaroscuro, these aleatoric textures shift us between the worlds of darkness and light.

Listen to the de profundis plainchant incipit used in the work:

Genres:   Winds

Subgenres:   Large EnsembleEducational


Piccs, Fls, Obs, Bsns, Clars, AlClars(opt), BClars, CbClars, ASaxes, TSaxes, BSaxes, Tpts, Hns, Trbs, Euphs, Tbas, Cb(opt), 6Perc (Crot/ Glock/ Mar/ Vibr/ SuspCym/ Tam-t/ 2Tri/ 4 Timp/ 2BD/ 3Tom-t/ 2Roto-t)

Commissioned by

Central Oklahoma Directors Association

For the 2010 CODA Symphonic Band

Recent Performances

  • February 2, 2019 - Virginia Band & Orchestra Director's Assn. District 12 Honor Band at Chantilly High School, Chantilly, VA. Conducted by Timothy Robblee, Gary Hill.
  • March 18, 2017 - Association for Music in International Schools at Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg. Conducted by Tim Robblee.
  • June 5, 2016 - California Polytechnic State University Wind Orchestra at San Luis Obispo Performing Arts Center, San Luis Obispo, CA. Conducted by Christopher Woodruff.