William Schuman

Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The privilege of executing this commission I have regarded as a singular honor. In addition to the title I have given the work, it is tempting, indeed, to write of my convictions concerning the work of UNESCO and the role of government in the arts. But prose encomiums, unless they are on a higher level than I have any right to suppose I could reach, are not only anticlimactic but, in the specific instance at hand, would shed little enlightenment on the music itself. In the brief statement that follows, I have therefore limited myself to descriptive matter concerning "Credendum".

The first movement, ?Declaration,? is scored for wind instrument and percussion with the exception of occasional support from the string basses. As its title implies, the musical materials of this movement are oratorical in nature.

In the second movement, ?Chorale,? the chorale melody is first heard in the string section of the orchestra where it is developed at some length. As the movement progresses, the chorale is stated by the brass instruments while the strings begin filigree of a contrasting nature. The music gains in intensity and the woodwinds join in the figurations set against the chorale. The movement ends quietly with reference both to the choral theme and the contrasting figurations.

The Finale opens with scherzo-like material given to the strings, bassoons, and bass clarinet. The gradual development of this material leads to the establishment of characteristic figures. Against these figures a long melody emerges in the ?celli, joined as it continues its course by the first violins. These two melodic lines together with the figures set against them lead to a return of the opening section. As the music gains momentum, a vigorous subject derived from the melody originally heard in the ?celli, is announced and developed contrapuntally. A brief reference to music heard earlier in the movement leads ultimately to a return of the Chorale. In this movement, as in the first movement, percussion instruments have a prominent part and the timpani, in particular, has figures of thematic significance. The work ends with the music of the ?Declaration? now paraphrased and leading to a peroration.

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Additional Information

Commission Commission Information: Department of State, for the U.S. Commission of UNESCO
Composition Date 1955
Duration 00:18:00
Orchestration 4 4 5 4 - 6 4 3 2; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
Premiere November 4, 1955, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Thor Johnson