Grade level: 2
Commissioning info: Greenville Middle School, OH, Brian McKibben, conductor
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Fallen Timbers, commissioned by the Greenville (OH) Middle School Band, is inspired by the events around the Battle of Fallen Timbers, which took place on August 20, 1794, and the subsequent signing of the Treaty of Greenville, which took place on August 3, 1795. This was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between Native American tribes, supported by the British, against the United States for control of the Northwest Territory.
History is complex, often leaving us without a clear understanding of "winners" and "losers." This work does not seek to support one side or another in this conflict, but acknowledge that it was a major event in American history and the history of this region in particular. Elements of Native American music, particularly conveyed through the percussion, are combined with melodies and harmonies that evoke folk traditions that were brought to the American frontier by European settlers. The piece opens with lyrical, nostalgic melodic phrases that are passed around the band. Then there is a building of tempo and rhythmic and dynamic intensity that reaches its climax in a dramatic clashing of the two musical cultures. And finally, the tension dissipates and the piece ends quietly, with somber chords.
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