Oracle was commissioned by the Hebron High School Wind Symphony, under the direction of Andy Sealy, on the occasion of their invitation to perform at the 2010 Midwest Clinic and their selection as the 5A Honor Band (with performance at the 2011 Texas Music Educator’s Association Convention).
In looking for a compositional direction for Oracle, I looked for musical influences that I had not heard frequently utilized in band music. After researching various cultures and experimenting with their musical elements, I settled on a Greek influence. Quickly, the palette of octatonic scales and mixed meter (7/8 throughout, always subdivided 2-2-3) emerged.
As a percussionist, I was excited to write for the Hebron percussion section. Under the direction of percussion specialist Scott Baldwin, the Hebron drumline always impressed me with their quality and professionalism. Being able to write for such fine players was exciting, and that excitement helped to craft musical content that was based around the percussion section.
While the percussion instruments are not necessarily Greek per se, the idea was to bring some less common colors into the wind ensemble. Doumbek, djembe and four-mallet marimba are prominently used along with a variety of other standard percussion instruments to create an ethnic feel.
In its short 4 minute duration, Oracle covers a number of moods, from playful and conversational to bombastic and aggressive, all while conjuring up Grecian imagery.
- Composer: Eric Rath