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JSC Turris Fortissima

Product Code: 4102001212

Comments by Steven Ponsford

The geographical position of Plymouth means that at various times in history, the city has been the country's first line of defense. A series of forts around the coast bears testimony to this. Being under siege for nearly four years during the English Civil War saw more forts built to completely encircle the city, ensuring its safety. These forts have features on the city's coat-of-arms ever since. However, the city's forefathers believed that physical security was worthless without a faith in God's protection. This is reflected in the city motto: Turris fortissima est nomen Jehovah (The name of Jehovah is our strongest tower (Proverbs 18:10)).

The music begins strongly, introducing various themes which will be built upon throughout the piece. In section B, good balance is required as the rhythmic pattern flows through different sections of the band, which gradually builds to the climax at letter C. At letter D, the Horns introduce the song, Blessèd be the name of the Lord (12 S.B.S., Vol II), the verse of which features the words, 'The name of the Lord is a strong tower'. A rock rhythm appears at letter E in the Percussion and Basses. Good clean quavers and attention to the accents are essential in the parts which have the melodic line.

Section F is a transitional section that features various ideas from the tune Ein' Feste Burg (T.B. 640) which is associated with the words 'A mighty fortress is our God' (S.A.S.B. 1). There is a poco rall. for four bars to ensure the drop in Tempo is smooth and natural-sounding. Although not cadenzas, the short solos from the Euphonium, 1st Trombone and Solo Horn in section G do allow an element of freedom in movement.

When the song Shout to the Lord (12 S.B.S., Vol IV) is used in sections H to J, full note values are needed as the melody is passed around the band. Following a two bar accel. section L is in the style of a fugue. It is recommended that a suitable tempo for the band is chosen that will sound comfortable and will ensure there is no loss of clarity and detail. Although accented, the contrasting Trombone figure in bar 181 should just sit within the music and not overpower anything else that's going on.

A lot of the material used at the beginning is heard again through the building sections O and P, reaching its climax in section Q with 'Shout to the Lord'. As section R begins the race to the conclusion, a lot of the melodic and rhythmic patterns used previously are brought together intending to create excitement. At bar 251, an apt reference is made to Dean Goffin's timeless piece, My strength, my tower, as the music continues to build to its dramatic final bars.

Program note
On the Plymouth coat-of-arms is the city motto: 'Turris fortissima est nomen Jehovah' (The name of Jehovah is our strongest tower). Steven Ponsford's composition attempts to portray this assurance. Written for Enfield Citadel Band's tour of the USA in 2007, the music is strong throughout. It is based on the hymn, 'A mighty fortress is our God', along with the more contemporary, 'Blessèd be the name of the Lord' and 'Shout to the Lord'. (view series guide)
Produced by The Salvation Army, SP&S, UK
  • $57.95
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