The Audacity of Hope

This celebratory overture was commissioned by the Northern Virginia Community College in honour of Dr. Robert Petrella, founder and director of the Alexandria Band, 1977-2007. It was inspired by the words of Barack Obama and composed in the run-up to his victory in the 2008 Presidential election.

The music is built around two strongly contrasted themes. The first could be described as moody and intense. It first appears in the form of a fugato by the four saxophones. The second theme gradually emerges throughout the piece, finally being heard in its entirety as a trumpet solo in the closing minutes. I would characterise it as joyful but also assertive. All the remaining material, including the up-surging opening figure in the clarinets, is derived from one or both of these themes. For much of the piece they are treated in a polarised manner – with highly contrasted registers and textures. As they move closer together it becomes clear that they are the two sides of the same coin.

Robert Petrella himself directed a very expressive and warmly received premiere performance on December 5, 2008 in the impressive auditorium of the Northern Virginia Community College.

Christopher Marshall
Orlando, Florida, 2009


Star Music Publishing, where you can view and purchase the score and also hear a very fine performance by the Banda Sinfónica de la Provincia de Córdoba, directed by Laszlo Marosi.


“….a joy to perform and an inspiration to listen to….”
“….pleasurable, inspiring, and playful….”

Instrumentation: Wind Ensemble (or Symphonic Band)

1 Picc. 3 Fl. 1 Ob. 1 EbCl. 4 BbCl. 1 BassCl. 2 Alt.Sax. 1 Ten.Sax. 1 Bar.Sax. 2 Bsn. // 4 FHn. 3 BbTpt. 3 Tbn. 1 Euph. 1 Tba. // 1 Str.Bass 1 Timp. 5 Perc.




Grade 5