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Wind Ensemble

"Before the mountains were born..."

Stephen Hill

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"Before the mountains were born..."
Wind Ensemble / Grade 4 / ca. 7:20 / (2020) I. Chorale q= 56, II. Toccata q= 140

00:00 / 07:21



Performance Cerritos College
High School Honor Band
Dr. David Betancourt

Program Notes

“Before the mountains were born…” is a two-movement work reflecting on two Old Testament passages. 


1. Chorale - Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity you are God."


Lyrical and Polytonal. The Chorale begins the work with gentleness and returns after the Toccata to conclude in triumph.


2. Toccata - Psalm 98:8,9 “Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains shout together for joy before the Lord. for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world righteously and the people fairly."

The Toccata begins with a rhythmic timpani solo that remains upbeat and joyful as each section enters, culminating in a jubilant and rapturous tutti. The timpani solo returns and sets up the closing section. The brass section enters, joined with accompanying woodwind flourishes that build to a triumphant restatement of the Chorale.



"I enjoyed it, Stephen. I have always liked your style of writing. I hope I'll get to play or conduct this piece." Doug Nordquist (Band Director (retired), California High School)

"I really love this piece, the opening to the Chorale is beautiful!" Shannon Scott (Friend /Former Classmate with Francis McBeth at Ouachita Baptist University)

"Wow!! If I had a band...Francis is smiling!" Don Gunderson (SCSBOA Festival Judge / Retired Band Director) 

"Texture, tone colors, dynamics, some of my favorite words in music. Great Steve!" Mark Cuneo (Retired Band Director)

"Dude. I knew you at Cerritos College. Great job. Keep it up." Dr. David Englert (Former professor at Cerritos College)

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