Andrew Boysen, Jr. (b. 1968) is a prolific composer of wind band music.  He has conducting degrees from Northwestern University and the Eastman School of Music.  He is currently an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire, where he teaches conducting and orchestration classes and conducts the University wind symphony.  He maintains an active guest conducting schedule, with appearances all over the United States and in Great Britain.  He continues to compose, and has received numerous commissions for new works.  Boysen wrote Conversations With the Night in 1994, in the wake of tragedy.  In his own words:

Conversations With the Night was commissioned by Jeff Doughten and the Andrews, Texas High School Band as a memorial to their friend and fellow musician, Jerry Don Belt.  The piece is based on one of Jerry Don’s favorite hymns, “When I See the Blood.”  There are several trombone solos in the work because that was Jerry Don’s instrument.

The title for this work explains a lot about the organization of the piece and the motivation behind it.  It stems from a conversation I had with Jerry Don’s parents in which they told me of his deep religious convictions, his love of people, his fascination with lightning, and his smiling face.  In other words, they gave me chance to get to know Jerry Don as much as I possibly could.  The one thing that struck me the most in our talk was the fact that Jerry Don used to enjoy going for walks outside at night by himself.  His mother then mentioned how she goes outside at night now to talk with him, because that is when she feels the closest to him.  Conversations With the Night is my reaction to how she must feel at times when she talks to him–feelings of pain, love, and ultimately, peace.

Here are my great friends at the Manhattan Wind Ensemble playing Conversations with the Night:

Here’s the original hymn, “When I See the Blood”, in appropriate congregation-singing style:

The lyrics are here, if you’d like a look.

Learn more about Andrew Boysen at Kjos (his publisher) and the University of New Hampshire.  He also has a fan page on profileengine.com.

Conversations With the Night has some fans on the web.  There’s even another wordpress blog post about it!  It contains a great musical analysis of the piece, which is absolutely worth a read.

We’ve done this piece once in Columbia Wind Ensemble, as a senior choice for CUWE president Cindy Gerson (Glick) ’04.