David Maslanka (1943-2017) was an American composer whose cerebral music ranges from chamber music miniatures to large, epic symphonies. Born in New Bedford, MA, Maslanka studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (including a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum) and with H. Owen Reed at Michigan State University. He spent his early career teaching at several institutions before dedicating himself solely to composition in 1990. He won several awards for his music, and he worked solely on commission for many years. His compositions for wind band won him particular acclaim, including more than a dozen concertos, seven symphonies (plus two more for orchestra), and several concert pieces, including A Child’s Garden of Dreams. He Symphony no. 10 was left unfinished at his death.
Written in 2003, Mother Earth (A Fanfare) is one of Maslanka’s many smaller pieces for band. At 3 minutes, it is a unique and energetic concert opener. His program notes from his excellent website (still run by his son Matthew after his passing) tell the story of the piece (with links added by me):
Mother Earth was composed for the South Dearborn High School Band of Aurora, Indiana, Brian Silvey, conductor. The commission was for a three-minute fanfare piece. Each piece takes on a reason for being all its own, and Mother Earth is no exception. It became an urgent message from Our Mother to treat her more kindly! My reading at the time of writing this music was For a Future to be Possible by the Vietnamese monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. He believes that the only way forward is to be extremely alive and aware in our present moment, to become awake to the needs of our beloved planet, and to respond to it as a living entity. Music making allows us to come immediately awake. It is an instant connection to the powerful wellspring of our creativity, and opens our minds to the solution of any number of problems, including that of our damaged environment. My little piece does not solve the problem! But it is a living call to the wide-awake life, and it continues to be performed by young people around the world.
Read more about Mother Earth and so much more at Maslanka’s website, which doubles as the face of his publishing company. Also visit Maslanka at Wikipedia and Carl Fisher. Mother Earth has been written about in at least two (probably many more) scholarly papers by Renee Morgan and Luke Johnson.