“If there is any justice, the music world deserves to hear much more of the music of Rothman.” So said the Waterloo-Cedar Falls (Iowa) Courier after a performance of Philip Rothman’s Souvenir for orchestra. Such is the draw of Rothman, a New York City-based composer, clinician, and music consultant. The technical challenges of his music appear in the service much greater musical goals evident in every composition. Educated at Rice University and the Juilliard School, Rothman has won numerous awards for his music and is in demand as a clinician and composer.
Information about Rothman’s band music can be found here on his website. Click the tabs to look at each piece – Monument Fanfare and Tribute is second from the right. There you will find a recording of the piece.
Says Rothman of the Fanfare:
Every year thousands gather at the General Grant National Memorial in Manhattan, popularly known as Grant’s Tomb, to commemorate the birthday of Civil War hero and former President Ulysses S. Grant. The monument, internationally famous, is the largest building of its kind in the Western hemisphere and unprecedented in American history. To celebrate the millennial anniversary of this observance, Monument Fanfare and Tribute was premiered at the monument on April 27, 2000.
Monument Fanfare and Tribute is a brilliant, stirring composition inspired by the grandeur of the Grant monument as well as the promise of the new millennium. Its opening brass flourishes are designed to evoke the festive nature of this outdoor communal gathering. After this initial fanfare recedes, an elegant, expansive theme emerges which conveys the “tribute” in the title. This dignified yet spirited tune is introduced quietly to distinguish a contrast with the initial bombast. The composer used the letters of Grant’s name in a musical fashion to spell out the first notes of this melody. The theme steadily builds in scope and volume until it is time for the brass fanfare to excitedly reappear. The main theme is then jubilantly presented as the composition reaches a sweeping, joyous conclusion.
Monument Fanfare and Tribute has been featured at The Midwest Clinic, the international conference Wind Music Across the Century at the New England Conservatory, and at the Virginia Intercollegiate Band Directors Symposium for New Music.
General Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th president of the United States after leading the Union forces to victory over the Confederacy during the Civil War. He is indeed entombed in Grant’s Tomb, along with his wife, Julia Dent Grant. For decades after the monument’s completion, Grant’s Tomb was the most visited tourist destination in the US, largely due to the number of Civil War veterans who payed their respects. It suffered a period of disrepair in the mid-20th century, but was restored to health by the time of the premiere of Monument Fanfare and Tribute in 2000.
Grant Memorial Association website. The flash intro plays the Fanfare!
Here is the Columbia Summer Winds playing the piece on the steps of Grant’s Tomb itself: