I Hear Him!

I Hear Him!
Fore the Maestro

Frederick Fennell is one of my most beloved musical heroes. Since the very first time I saw him work with a high school honor band, and with every ensemble since, I was struck by his exuberant love for music and music-making.

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In December of 2004 I was filled with sadness learning of his passing. Our profession had lost a musical icon and the founding father of our modern wind ensemble.

I Hear Him! is a musical farewell to a lost hero. I have utilized motives from pieces that affected me deeply as I watched the maestro at work. These experiences touched my heart and changed my life as a musician. He inspired me in so many ways both as a performer and as a conductor. I continue to look to him for inspiration even though he has left this earth.

The musical motives come from Bach’s Come Sweet Death, Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy, Holst’s First Suite in E-flat, and Fennell’s own The Drummer’s Heritage. The motives are threaded throughout the composition as I attempt to create a tapestry of sound that reminds us of Maestro Fennell’s many memorable moments.

The title, I Hear Him!, comes from the story that his daughter told of his last words before his death. He said that he was frustrated because there was no drummer. She told him that heaven’s best drummer was on the way. Shortly he proclaimed, “I hear him, I hear him, I’m OK now.” Those were his last words.

As wind band conductors and musicians…we will always hear him. To the Maestro.
John Carnahan

…and the antelope play

Winner—2007 College Band Directors National Association Young Band Composition Contest

My tone poem, …and the antelope play, depicts the transformation through time of the Antelope Valley—from ancient times, to the eventual displacement of the Native American culture, to modern times. The work considers both geographical and cultural aspects in its musical portrayal of the vast and beautiful high desert of California.

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The title is taken from the 19th century song, Home on the Range, specifically from the line, “Where the deer and the antelope play,” although you will not hear the song except in some melodic fragments. The thematic material of the music is based solely upon these fragments and word association from the song. Although well hidden, you may find the themes more readily by word association than by melodic association.

…and the antelope play is a through-composed tone poem in eight sections, played without pause, with each section bearing a descriptive verse from my poem:

  • …first there was wind
  •     …morning light
  •         …behold the valley
  •               …and the antelope play
  •               …the plight of the valley
  •         …the spirit remains
  •     …and the antelope?
  • …the valley home
John Carnahan
Published by Manhattan Beach Music—Grade 3

Centennial Celebration Fanfare

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Long Beach Municipal Band
Centennial Celebration Fanfare is dedicated to the Long Beach Municipal Band and its conductor, Mr. Larry Curtis, in honor of the 100th anniversary of its debut on March 14, 1909.

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The piece is a celebratory fanfare reminiscent of cresting waves, warm ocean breezes and the flourish of sails along the coastline of Long Beach, California. The continual rise and fall of the tide, like the music itself, brings with it the excitement and optimism of another sunny day by the sea. The Long Beach Municipal Band has entertained the citizens of Long Beach for 100 years and the Centennial Celebration Fanfare is a “thank you” to the musicians and conductors of this great band both past and present. The city of Long Beach is privileged to have the Municipal Band as part of their rich heritage and we hope to enjoy the band’s summer evening concerts for millennia to come.
John Carnahan

Published by C. Alan Publications—Grade 5+

A Dream of Coming Home

Dedicated to those in service to our country stationed afar

A Dream of Coming Home was written and dedicated to all of those in service to our country stationed away from their homeland. The piece depicts the dream-like thoughts that run through the mind as you reminisce about all that is dear to the heart: A stroll down a familiar street, writing a letter to loved-ones, the sight of brothers, sisters, mother and father, holding sons and daughters, birds chirping a familiar tune, the scent of a summer rainstorm, the glorious first glimpse of home upon return, and the peaceful smile of a comforting final thought…

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Thank you to all who give of themselves to preserve our freedom. Godspeed…
John Carnahan

Published by C. Alan Publications—Grade 3 http://www.c-alanpublications.com

Twilight at Silver Falls

Silver Falls State Park is known as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system. A true scenic treasure. The 7.2 mile “Trail of Ten Falls” loops through dense forested landscapes passing the ten beautiful cascading falls along the way. The most spectacular of which is the 177 foot descending curtain of water from South Falls.

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Twilight at Silver Falls depicts a walk on the trail as the light of day disappears between the towering trees. The wonders of the trail are revealed at each turn. The sound of the falls as you approach, the views of the falls from above and below, and forest creatures scurrying about along the way. Then through the mist of the setting sun appears the splendor of South Falls. As you reach the trail’s end, nightfall comes upon you.

The piece is sub-titled as follows:
Approachng the Falls
Above the Falls
Below The Falls
Stirring About
Twilight Mist
Through The Mist
The Splendor of the Falls
Nightfall Comes

Published by World Projects – Grade 3
Twilight at Silver Falls by John Alan Carnahan

Morning Sun Upon the Wild Prairie Rose

The idea of the piece came as I was attempting to write a piece for Luther College alum, Adolph “Bud” Herseth. A request from the commission was that it should not be a trumpet solo piece.  So, I decided, after much trial and thought, to write a piece that represented his personality and influence rather than his instrument. The true inspiration came when I decided to emulate through music the undeniable twinkle in his eyes. He was a simple man yet one of the greatest musicians in the world. He maintained a simple lifestyle his entire life and truly enjoyed the small pleasures that life brought to him outside of music.

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The countless solos that Bud played with the Chicago Symphony had a sound and beauty that could not be matched. If you are familiar with trumpet parts in orchestral literature, you find that many of the solo passages are quite short within the symphonic repertoire. I perceived his multitude of famous solos as an exquisite musical bouquet that he would gladly bestow upon anyone at any given moment. Hence, I needed a flower for the bouquet.

To bring the composition together, I selected the simple beauty of the Wild Prairie Rose (the state flower of Iowa) to depict the bouquet, and the simple beauty that God bestows upon all of us when we take the time to look. Bud always took the time to look.

In the piece itself, you will hear simple short musical gestures rather than long musical lines. These gestures represent Bud’s short solos and the Prairie Roses within the grand and colorful bouquet. Each has their own color, size, volume, speed, and age. Although not direct quotes from the orchestral literature, these fragments are representative of symphonic solos. The end of the piece finds the only direct quote from the literature and a trumpet solo. A three-note solo (E-C-G) that Mr. Herseth made famous from Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, Adagio movement. This is said to be one of his favorite musical moments in the orchestral literature.
The challenge in performing the piece is to play each gesture with confidence and beauty….just like a great soloist and/or a beautiful rose.

I hope you enjoy the musical bouquet of the Wild Prairie Rose. I wish that it brings a smile…and a twinkle to your eye…..just like “Bud”.
John Carnahan

Les Bourgeons du Printemps

(The Blossoms of Spring)
For Full Orchestra

(The Blossoms of Spring) is a musical soundscape depicting the wonder of nature as the blossoms of spring slowly awake to bring us the joy of a new day.

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Awake Oh Blossoms of Spring
The light of the day is upon you
With dancing petals in the wind
You give way to the glory beyond you

Published by World Projects – Grade 3
Les Bourgeons du Printemps by John Alan Carnahan

The Mountain Watches Over Us

Mountains, by definition, dominate their surroundings with towering height; they command attention. Their majestic presence, long weathered and scarred by the elements, have always awed and inspired man. Anciently, mountains represented the divine. People were drawn to them for protection, guidance, and inspiration.

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40 miles south of Salt Lake City rising majestically 11,753 ft. from the Utah Valley floor stands Mount Timpanogos. Mount Timpanogos dominates the landscape and can be viewed from anywhere in the valley. Its morning shadow reaches across Utah lake and leaves no ground untouched. Its cracks and crevasses bring life-giving water to the valley floor and provide refuge from the storms. It stands as a constant reminder of the majesty and grandeur of God’s creations and seems always to watch over the valley below.

John Miller’s career as a Music Educator stretches across the profession and has influenced 100’s of teachers and programs throughout the United States. His sure foundation has encouraged numerous students to contribute positively to society. His faith and devotion have protected and inspired those who have sought comfort and encouragement. John’s influence will most certainly prove to be everlasting just as the majestic mountains around us. Truly he will be the mountain watching over us.
Jermie Arnold

As Summer Passed

For String Orchestra and Piano

As Summer Passed, is a musical recollection of the memories of a summer that has passed by too quickly in one’s life.

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Reminiscent thoughts of the warmth of summer bring unexpected daydreams as you ponder summer’s end. The moment builds with mixed feelings of serenity, tension, melancholy, and calm. Your thoughts go by quickly as did the days of the summer behind you. Summer has passed, but another will come. When the first thaw appears, you will dream again, As Summer Passed.

As summer passed
I dreamed
Of things lost
And found again
With spirit and soul
And open heart
Where has it gone
Can it last
Do you know
As summer passed

Published by World Projects – Grade 3
As Summer Passed by John Alan Carnahan

Lēʻahi Fanfare

(Diamond Head Fanfare)

The iconic Diamond Head (Lēʻahi) crater on the Island of Oahu is the one of the most recognized landmarks in Hawaii. The crater was formed more than 100,000 years ago by a single volcanic eruption. Today, Diamond Head is a popular destination for hikers that scale the steep slopes of the monument to reach the summit. From there, the views of Honolulu are stunning. Diamond Head also served as a military installation for artillery units to protect the island during war, and remnants of the installation remain to this day.

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The Lēʻahi Fanfare is a glorious salute to all that is Diamond Head. The music represents the many unique natural and man-made aspects of the crater. From the bold first site of the towering green hillside to the ascent and descent of the trails, the music takes you on a journey up and over the volcanic rock. There are several tense moments on the trip as you traverse the steep incline, but the trek is worthwhile as the grandeur of the view is revealed when you reach the summit!

El Silencio Después de la Tormenta

(The Silence After The Storm)

On September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm. The devastation was massive and the death toll has reached over 3,000 people.

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El Silencio Después de la Tormenta (The Silence After The Storm) paints a picture of the storm’s aftermath, as citizens slowly emerge to view the scene. The eerie quiet is the polar opposite of what had occurred just hours before. As the story unfolds, the devastation becomes reality.

The piece begins in the silence of the aftermath. There are musical moments of relief and of disbelief as people walk through the streets and fields. These moments lead to a harsh reality of the true devastation of the storm. Following this shocking scene, a hymn-like tune is heard to create inner peace and to calm their despair. A moment of joy and affirmation occurs as the realization of life still abounds in the hearts and souls of the Puerto Rican people. As in the beginning of the piece, this is followed by the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

A short statement of the Puerto Rico national anthem (La Borinqueña) is heard at the end of the piece to indicate that the pride of the Puerto Rican people remains strong and intact even during these trying times.

Published by World Projects – Grade 3 https://www.world-projects.net/product/el-silencio-by-john-alan-carnahan/

To Soar Like An Eagle!

Let Freedom Ring

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Taking Flight – Acrobatics – Soaring – Building Momentum – Flying Higher – Above the Clouds – Returning Home – The Proud Landing