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Anthem for Doomed Youth · PDF file 2019. 2. 1. · Anthem for Doomed Youth - Wilfred Owen, 1917 For sheet music sales and rentals, perusals, recordings, and more, visit If you have

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  • Anthem for Doomed Youth

    Josh Trentadue


    For Wind Ensemble

    © 2018 M.O.T.I.F. (ASCAP)

    @trentaduemotif - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud

  • Sizzle Cymbal


    Crash Cymbals*

    Splash Cymbal

    Suspended Cymbal*

    Large Tam-Tam

    Low Siren++++

    4 Tom-Toms*


    Chimes ++

    Large Tam-Tam

    Small Bass Drum


    Crash Cymbals*

    Snare Drum*


    3 Flutes (2nd dbls. Alto Flute, 3rd dbls. Bass Flute in Mvmt. II)++

    2 Oboes

    English Horn

    2 Bassoons


    Eb Clarinet

    3 Bb Clarinets

    Bb Bass Clarinet

    Bb Contrabass Clarinet

    Soprano Saxophone

    Alto Saxophone

    Tenor Saxophone

    Baritone Saxophone

    4 Horns++

    4 C Trumpets (3 and 4 dbl. Flugelhorns in Mvmt. II)++

    2 Trombones

    Bass Trombone

    Euphoniums (at least two players needed)

    Tubas (at least two players needed)

    Double Bass



    5 Percussion (one player per part)



    -All trills in this piece are half-step trills. This is also indicated in the parts.

    -All offstage parts can optionally be played onstage or given to auxiliary players to reduce movement onstage if necessary.

    -All rhythmic values in aleatoric music (indicated as boxed music with repeated material) are approximate. Some of these

    parts in the score are indicated with the note "Play independently from each other." The players should not be playing

    together in these moments. In addition, the parts indicate the duration the aleatoric music is to be repeated for as actual rests.

    In only these specific cases, the players should continue to repeat the aleatoric music to the end of its marked duration.

    -It is recommended that the following parts be doubled for performance, especially if auxiliary players are to be used:

    Flutes, Bb Clarinets, Horns, C Trumpets, Trombones, and (if possible) Double Bass. From this list, Alto Flute, Bass Flute,

    and Bass Trombone should not be doubled.

    Percussion 1 Percussion 2 Percussion 3 Percussion 4 Percussion 5Percussion 1 Percussion 2 Percussion 3 Percussion 4 Percussion 5

    +Bass Flute is optional, but strongly preferred if available. The part is also included as a cue in Bb Clarinet 3.

    ++Horn 3 and C Trumpet I are offstage for the beginning of Movement II, while Chimes are offstage for the

    entire movement. Their individual positions are left to the discretion of the conductor.

    +++If rope drum is used, it must have snares as well as a synthetic non-Kevlar head. In the score and parts,

    the instrument will be marked only as "Field Drum" after the first instance it appears.

    ++++If possible, it is recommended that the siren players stand on opposite ends of the wind ensemble when

    playing the part. This will help achieve a stereophonic effect in the group as well as allow for both sirens

    to be clearly heard at the fermata in measure 198 of Movement I.

    * Indicates that the percussion instrument is shared between players.

    Concert Bass Drum

    Snare Drum*


    High Siren++++


    Large Field Drum or Rope Drum+++


    Brake Drum

    Suspended Cymbal*

    4 Tom-Toms*

  • What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

    — Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

    Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle

    Can patter out their hasty orisons.

    No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; 

          Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—

    The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

          And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

    What candles may be held to speed them all?

          Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

    Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.

          The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;

    Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

    And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

    Anthem for Doomed Youth - Anthem for Doomed Youth - Wilfred Owen, 1917Wilfred Owen, 1917

    For sheet music sales and rentals, perusals, recordings, and more, visit

    If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at

    [email protected]


    Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) was first and foremost a poet, writing such works from the age of 17 onward. Unable to pursue

    this passion academically, and after being rejected from several universities, Wilfred would serve his country England during

    World War I, leading to an almost fatal accident which left him hospitalized for several months. During his recovery, and

    under the tutelage of his co-patient and fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon (who would introduce him to literary authors such

    as H.G. Wells), Wilfred wrote some of the most beloved British poetry concerning World War I, depicting both the

    psychological and physical tortures of the battlefield and the human condition during these violent times.

    Anthem for Doomed Youth is one such poem of Wilfred Owen's personal experiences in battle. There is no true glimmer of

    hope to be found in this excruciatingly detailed account of trench warfare. The first stanza alone conjures up the imagery of

    rapid onslaughts of violence matched by agonizing and religious choirs of despair. The tone then shifts in the second stanza

    to subdued reflections in an almost mocking fashion, suggesting as if even the prayers and chants of those who follow religion

    are completely meaningless compared to the tragedies of war. Their cries for help and salvation are almost irrelevant in this regard.

    I was first introduced to Wilfred's poem by a very good friend in college who, at the time, was studying the literary history of

    World War I. I was immediately entranced by the gruesomely dark nature of Wilfred's poem as well as its bleak and sometimes

    sarcastic tone. Any references made to church and prayer are shockingly and bitterly mocked. His striking use of metaphor

    and juxtapositions of various lines (the "choirs" with "wailing shells," for example) embody the dual nature of his prose, as

    both a bitter reflection of soldiers his age (and even younger) marching to war and dying while cruelly mocking those at home

    praying for their loved ones to survive. Ironically, Wilfred Owen would rejoin his regiment after recovering from his injuries,

    only to be killed in action just a few months later.

    This overall sense of duality within the madness and chaos of Anthem for Doomed Youth became the basis for the musical

    conceptualization of the poem. Using the full forces of the wind ensemble, the work is divided into two movements (one for

    each stanza). Metaphors and other distinctive elements of the poem are translated into musical motives surrounded by moments

    of chaotic frenzy and subdued liturgies.

    Movement I, "Wailing Shells," begins with a cold introduction of machine-like, impending doom that continuously creates more

    uncertainty and panic. The scene of violence and destruction which follows is juxtaposed with dissonant echoes of chordal "choirs"

    off in the distance, praying and pleading to their respective deities. Gunfire and cannons are brought to life with heavy percussive

    artillery and constant woodwind shrieks and shrills. The warfare seemingly never ends, even with minor victories; it only grows

    stronger until its sudden cataclysmic end.

    Movement II, "Each Slow Dusk," begins after a desolate soundscape that closes the first movement. A processional, including

    liturgical-like music that's introduced and scorned soon after, is met with tremors of the battles that have occurred. Horn/trumpet calls

    and church bells are all heard off in the distance. A memorial soon begins in reflection of those who died in service of their country,

    only to be overtaken once more with tragic memories of the horrors of the war. Nightmarish visions bring back the intensity and

    neverending terrors to cataclysmic results once again.

    As Wilfred had indicated in his poem, there is not a true resolve to the bitterness of these moments in the end. There are only just

    memories to be forgotten and fallen ones to be laid to rest.

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    © 2018 M.O.T.I.F. (ASCAP)

    All Rights Reserved.

    Full Score (transposed)


    Flute 1 + 2

    Flute 3

    Oboe 1 + 2

    English Horn

    Bassoon 1 + 2


    Eb Clarinet

    Bb Clarinet 1 + 2

    Bb Clarinet 3

    Bb Bass Clarinet

    Bb Contrabass Clarinet

    Soprano Saxophone

    Alto Saxophone

    Tenor Saxophone

    Baritone Saxophone

    Horn 1 + 2

    Horn 3 + 4

    C Trumpet 1 + 2

    C Trumpet 3 + 4

    Trombone 1 + 2

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