Burning the Wicker Man
Composed for the 2020 Music for All National High School Honor Band
Timothy J. Holton, Conductor
Due to The Covid-19 Pandemic, This piece was only rehearsed twice and has yet
to be premiered. Premiere date to come.
Burning the Wickerman Program Notes
Man has burned effigies of objects as a way of celebration for hundreds if not thousands of years. Historically, a wicker man was a large wicker construction in the shape of a man that was reportedly used by the ancient pagan Druids. Hollow inside, it has been recorded that the Druids would confine a human sacrifice within, usually somebody guilty of a crime worthy of a death sentence.
This work does is not a musical reflection of ancient practices but of modern ones. There are many different celebrations using giant wicker man effigies around the world. They are used as art displays, at music festivals and a wicker man was also used as thematic material in a song by the rock band Iron Maiden.
Burning the Wickerman is an exciting, dramatic work depicting the building of a wicker man followed by its burning. While melodically it is sinister at times, that is not a reflection on the history, but on the properties of fire itself. The piece ends with the Wickerman engulfed in flames as a celebration of new beginnings.