Janus for wind ensemble


"[E]xquisitely formal yet ... approachable[.] ... [A] finely wrought score worthy of continued performance."

- Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa)

The Roman god Janus provides a metaphor for this composition.  Janus is usually depicted with two faces on one head, looking in opposite directions.  These two directions are often interpreted as the past and the future.  The first movement, “Incantation,” is a stately and slowly-evolving fugue, based on Bartók’s method of unfolding perfect fifths (found in the first movement of his Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, 1936).  In this way, I am exploring dual principles from the past (fugue;  Bartók’s method) albeit in my own musical language.

The principal motive in the second movement, Visions, is derived from the fugue’s subject in movement one.  Its subsequent development in this second movement is reflective of more contemporary procedures and, in that sense, looks toward the future.  The subtitles of the two movements (Incantation and Visions) are directly related to what I imagine as the alchemy of composition:  one looks to the “gods” of our musical past for guidance and inspiration in the wonderful and mysterious process of creating and realizing new expressions of musical thought.

Janus was composed in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the autumn of 1993.  Composed for Ronald Johnson and the University of Northern Iowa Wind Ensemble, it was premiered 18 November 1994, at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

This composition may be purchased or is available on a rental basis from:

The Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music
The Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1116
tel (215) 686-5313

wind ensemble
Date completed:
ca. 6:30

Janus: II. Visions

Fleisher Collection (rental agent) [search catalog for "Jeremy Beck"]

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