The Closing of the Gates (Bitensky, Laurence Scott)
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|Work Title||The Closing of the Gates|
|Composer||Bitensky, Laurence Scott|
|Year/Date of Composition||2009|
|First Performance||John Hagstrom, trumpet; the "President's Own" United States Marine Band -- Col Michael J. Colburn, conductor., 3/15/10|
|First Publication||2009 Silly Black Dog Music|
|Dedication||for John Hagstrom|
|Instrumentation||Solo Trumpet and Wind Ensemble - 2 (2 doub alto), 2 (2 doub Eng. Hn), 2 (2 doub B. Cl. / 2 alt. sax. (1 doub sopr.), 1 ten. sax., 1 bar. sax. / 4, 2, 2, 1 / double bass / timp., 2 perc./ pno (doub cel.)|
In 2002, Chicago Symphony trumpeter John Hagstrom premiered Awake, You Sleepers!, my concerto for trumpet and wind ensemble. Awake was based on Jewish motives and melodies from the Rosh Hashanah liturgy and the calls of the shofar, the ancient ram's horn sounded throuhgout the High Holiday season.
In 2009, when John asked me to write a tranquil encore piece as an epilogue to Awake and related to the same tradition, I decided to base the new piece around the special sundown service called Neila.
The last time that the shofar is sounded during the High Holiday season is at the very end of Yom Kippur, which falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur is the day to atone for sins of the year- a culmination of the process that begins on Rosh Hashanah. The final service is called Neilah, meaning "locked," and the dominant metaphor of the service is the closing of the gates of repentance. According to tradition, once the gates are closed, the shofar is sounded, Yom Kippur is over, and ones' fate for the year is sealed in the Book of Life. The Closing of the Gates is based on various traditional Ashkenazic Jewish mo