Fanfare for a Warrior
"Finally, be strong in the Lord..."
A short fanfare, written for youth wind band. This is bold, straightforward music to evoke – and encourage – bravery.
Before they became musical, the instruments of the wind orchestra made themselves useful on the battlefield. There’s nothing like a battalion of drums and trumpets to stir the soul as you march towards death or glory. You don’t want to be hearing the delicate whimper of a violin while the enemy charges toward you and flaming arrows whistle overhead – you want crashing cymbals, baying horns!
This fanfare is a battle cry. It’s in the tradition of the call-and-response chants known as military cadences, in which a leader yells out short, barely-musical phrases and the soldiers shout them back. It’s an effective way to keep in step and to get pumped up for some strenuous physical activity – so, good for musicians as well!
It sounds all the more terrifying when you don’t know the language, so I’ll let you in on the secret: all the rhythms you hear can be matched to the words of the famous 'Armour of God' passage in St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. “Stand firm then!”
© David John Lang 2018
The most common dynamic is forte. The piece is meant to sound loud pretty much the whole way through, so don’t try and stop that, but do try to encourage a good balance between sections, as well as consistent melodic phrasing. Save something for the final climax (and make sure the tam-tam is truly fortissimo at that point!).
Don’t overdo the 'footsteps' – they should sound like marching footsteps, not angry stomps, and are there to give energy and impetus in the build-up to the climax. When they stop, they should not be obviously absent all of a sudden – the music should gradually consume them.
The above recording was made by the Adelaide Wind Orchestra, conducted by Bryan Griffiths, on Saturday 8 November 2020 in Elder Hall, Adelaide SA, Australia. Recorded by Lachlan Bramble and Ray Thomas.
Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armour of God,
So that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers,
against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world
[and] against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on (Therefore put on)
The full armour of God (The full armour of God),
So that when the day of evil comes (So that when the day of evil comes)
You may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then (Stand firm then),
With the belt of truth buckled round your waist
(With the belt of truth buckled round your waist),
With the breastplate of righteousness in place
(With the breastplate of righteousness in place),
And with your feet fitted with
the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions
with all (with all) kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me
so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
for which I am an ambassador in chains (ambassador in chains).
Pray that I may declare it fearlessly,
as I should.
This is music is available to