Composer Jason Nitsch, Darrell Turner (front), Mark Turner (rear) and conductor Jeffrey D. Grogan (right)What is, and What Should Be (2005) SZM040 for Symphony Orchestra
Instrumentation: 2Fl, 2Ob, 3Cl, BsCl, 2Alto, Tn, Bari, Bsn, CBsn 3Tpt, 4Hrn, 3Tbn, Euph, Tuba, Timp, Perc 1 – 5, Piano, Harp, 2Vlns, Viola, Cello, Bass.
What is, and What Should Be was commissioned by the Turner Family in honor of Darrel Turner. The piece is written in three distinct sections that each deal with differentaspects of Darrell's life. Themes for each section are based upon and inspired by music selected by her family members; they each hold a deep and very personal meaning.
A hint of tension and foreshadowing opens "What Is, and What Should Be" in a calm, yet somewhat unsettled introduction. Primary melodic material in this section was taken from the Chi Omega hymn 'Shades'. The text relates to members leaving to go out into the world, yet always remembering their special sisterhood. It is a hymn of sadness for their departure, but more importantly, realizing a lifetime of wonderful memories. The melody is taken through several mutations, just as Darrell's illness began to take root and physical changes were observed. This section also features a bit of unique musical imaging, including a heartbeat that can clearly be heard and a reference to clock bells as time ticks ahead. A reflective duet is immediately followed by a defiant fanfare that closes the section...life continues to change, yet we move ahead with a more determined understanding.
The middle section of the work is a musical tribute to Darrell and her husband, John. Their individual melodies are inspired by John Denver's 'Aspenglow'. No material is taken directly from 'Aspenglow', but rather characteristic intervallic elements are incorporated into their themes. Each of their themes are first heard individually, then eventually combine into a beautiful duet. The final chord is left unresolved as their lives and their love continue past any perceptible ending.
The final section is based upon the melody from 'Chi Omega, Yours Forever'. This well-known melody is also used by a variety of organizations around the country and will be quite recognizable. In this context, the lyrics relate to "For our bonds are n'er broken", a tribute yet again to everlasting love. Following is a set of variations wherein percussive elements carefully interact with oboe and clarinet. As the piece heads toward its final resolution, themes from the opening section are heard once again. 'What Is, and What Should Be' ends triumphantly, celebrating Darrell and her dedication to lovingly provide a wonderful and positive influence upon the lives of thousands of children, families, and friends.
- To support the ongoing fight against ALS, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this piece will be donated to the American ALS Society -
Listen to the premiere recording of What Is and What Should Be, performed by the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra; Jeffrey Grogan, conductor.