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Nothing Gold Can Stay


Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

Nothing Gold Can Stay was commissioned as a surprise gift for Kevin Sedatole in honor of his first ten years at Michigan State University. His conducting students spanning that decade, led by Jamal Duncan and Armand Hall, banded together and approached me at the 2015 College Band Directors National Convention in Nashville about writing the work, and I knew immediately that I couldn’t refuse this special project, made all the more appropriate because my wife, Verena, was one of Kevin’s very first students at MSU.

The music is my deliberate attempt to write a chorale – something simple, beautiful, and familiar. The deceptive surface simplicity of Robert Frost’s poem seems to coincide with this music, particularly the paradoxical descending of dawn to day, all embodying the concept of felix culpa, or “lucky fall” – the idea that loss can bring greater good, and is in fact necessary.

Scott Boerma
Matthew Dockendorf
Jamal Duncan
Richard Frey
Arris Golden
Armand V. Hall, II
Douglas Henderson
Brandon R. Hults
Steven Kandow
Galen Karriker
Joshua Kearney
Daniel Kirk
Colin McKenzie
Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant
Philip Obado
William Staub
Jared Staub
Daniel Tembras
David Thornton

and the following institutions:

Western Michigan University Bands
The University of Akron Bands
University of Nebraska at Omaha Bands
Georgia Southern University Bands

Genres:   ChoraleLyricalSlow

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Distributor: Steven Bryant


General Info

Year(s) composed: 2016

Duration: 08:30

Commissioned by: Conducting students of Kevin Sedatole, led by Armand Hall and Jamal Duncan

Dedicated to: Kevin Sedatole


29 September 2016, Wharton Hall, Michigan State University Wind Symphony, Kevin Sedatole, conductor

Technical Info

View Instrumentation List

Flute 1,2
Clarinet in Bb 1,2,3
Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1,2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

Trumpet in Bb 1,2,3
Horn in F 1,2,3,4
Trombone 1,2,3
Euphonium 1,2

Double Bass (optional)

Piano (optional, but strongly encouraged)
Harp (optional)
Vibraphone (optional, but strongly encouraged)
Suspended Cymbal
Bass Drum