Carter Pann (b. 1972) is a celebrated composer and accomplished pianist who has written music from solo works to large orchestra and wind ensemble pieces, including The Three Embraces and his Symphony: My Brother’s Brain. His works have been performed around the world. He is on the faculty of the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he continues to write distinctly original music.
Hold This Boy and Listen was written for a commission from a consortium of Colorado ensembles headed by the Colorado Wind Ensemble and its director, Matt Roeder. It is dedicated to David Paulus, Jr. In Pann’s words:
Hold this Boy and Listen (2008) is an unusually soft and subdued song for band, written for my third nephew, David Paulus, Jr. I sat down at the piano and wrote a lyrical work where the melodies and harmonies return, creating a structure not unlike standard song structure. The sentiment is at times innocent or wistful and at other times haunted and serene. The players should really be allowed to sing through their instruments in this piece.
As in his other scores, Pann is often very specific in the instructions for this piece. For instance, he asks for “quiet pillars of sound” at one point, and specifies “Other-Worldly, Alien (“tempo-less”)” at another spot. This makes the score a colorful read beyond the notes. These instructions and others like them are absolutely essential to fully realizing his music, which is in this case gestural, graceful, and filled with contrast and nuance.