work details

Silent Moves the Symphony True

  • Instrumentation: SATB, wind symphony
  • Completed: August 2018
  • Duration: 11 minutes
  • Texts: Libretto adapted by the composer on texts of Walt Whitman
  • Video:
    • Silent Moves the Symphony True

      "The President's Own" United States Marine Band (Col. Jason K. Fettig, director)
      Choral Arts Society of Washington (Scott Tucker, artistic director)
      MGySgt Matthew Harding, trumpet
      Jason K. Fettig, conductor
      Recorded March 13-14, 2019

  • Score Preview:
  • Gallery:
    • With Christian Amonson at the US Marine Band headquarters, reviewing the score to Silent Moves the Symphony True.
      October 2018

    • After the premiere with "The President's Own" USMB and Choral Arts Society of Washington.
      March 2019

    • With Major General James Kessler, Colonel Jason Fettig, and Scott Tucker.
      March 2019

  • Press:
  • Commission and Dedication:

    Commissioned by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, Colonel Jason Fettig,
    and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, Scott Tucker, Artistic Director
    in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman,

    and with gratitude to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation for their support.

  • Program Note:

    I wouldn’t be writing music today if it were not for my high school band director: Marty Claussen.

    I was a shy and introverted 14-year old, more likely to take part in chess club and math team than a music ensemble. I had taken private piano lessons with my mother from age 7, so I had some musical training, but I had never taken part in a chorus, band, or orchestra. That was a far too social activity for my young and timid self! So when choosing my courses, I decided to enroll in a music theory class during my first year of high school. That seemed quite safe… I could interact with chords and scales instead of people.

    Little did I know that one day, Marty would hear me playing piano before class and come up to me and introduce himself.

    He said: “That sounds really good. You know… you should play the marimba.”

    “What’s a marimba?” I replied.

    Thus began a journey of coming out of my shell, being exposed to the joy of music-making in bands and choruses, and to my first forays into improvisation and eventually composition. Marty Claussen and my high school choral director Ellen Bosch lit a fire under me that eventually led to undergraduate study in composition and graduate study in choral conducting. This combination of skills has made me what I am today: a unique hybrid composer-conductor with a strong desire to write beautiful, expressive, and rhythmic vocal and instrumental music.

    When Colonel Jason Fettig and Scott Tucker approached me to write a new work for the joint forces of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, I knew that I wanted to create a work that combined the best sounds of both genres: the hushed pianissimo cluster chords and declamatory fortissimos that choruses do so well, and the grand sweep of lyric wind and brass lines--the pulsating underpinning of drums and mallets—of the band. The very same marimbas, vibraphones, and crotales that I knew nothing about at 14 have now become a staple of my sound world.

    That sound world is on display here with a text I’ve adapted from four works of Walt Whitman, in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth. The “proud music of the storm” is combined with the curious tones of the mystic trumpeter—here an actual soloist—to create a narrative arch in service to the great joy of music.  Do not be fooled by the title: while there are certainly moments of silence to behold in this work, I instead chose to emphasize the “symphony true,” with a rousing, proud, and joyous ‘sounding together.’

    I dedicate this piece to the commissioners and the great musicians under their care: “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Choral Arts Society of Washington. And I also fondly dedicate the work to Marty Claussen and to Ellen Bosch, who both first instilled in me a love for making music with others.

    Dominick DiOrio

  • Texts:

    Silent Moves the Symphony True
    for mixed chorus and wind symphony
    with a libretto adapted by the composer after the words of Walt Whitman


    Proud music of the storm! … Wind of the mountains!
    Personified dim shapes! you hidden orchestras!
    You serenades of phantoms, with instruments alert,
    Blending, with Nature’s rhythmus, all the tongues of nations;
    You chords left us by vast composers! you choruses!

    Give me to hold all sounds,
    Fill me with all the voices of the universe,
    The tempests, waters, winds—operas and chants—marches and dances,
    Utter—pour in—for I would take them all.


    HARK! some wild trumpeter--some strange musician,
    Hovering unseen in air, vibrates capricious tunes to-night.

    I hear thee, trumpeter--listening, alert, I catch thy notes,
    Now pouring, whirling like a tempest round me,
    Now low, subdued--now in the distance lost.


    After the dazzle of day is gone,
    Only the dark, dark night shows to my eyes the stars;
    After the clangor of organ majestic, or chorus, or perfect band,
    Silent, athwart my soul, moves the symphony true.

    Adapted from FOR YOU, O DEMOCRACY

    I will make the continent indissoluble,
    I will make divine magnetic lands,
    I will make inseparable cities...

    For you, O Democracy,
    For you, for you I am trilling these songs.


    Now, trumpeter, for thy close,
    Vouchsafe a higher strain than any yet;
    Sing to my soul--renew its languishing faith and hope;
    Give me, for once, its prophecy and joy.

    O glad, exulting, culminating song!

    War, sorrow, suffering gone--
    The ocean fill'd with joy--the atmosphere all joy!
    Joy! Joy! in freedom, worship, love! Joy in the ecstacy of life!
    Joy! Joy! all over Joy!

  • Scoring:

    Flute 1, 2, 3 (between three to six players, as desired)
    Oboe 1, 2
    English Horn
    Bassoon 1, 2

    Eb Soprano Clarinet
    Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3 (nine or twelve players, as desired)
    Bb Bass Clarinet
    Bb Contrabass Clarinet

    Bb Soprano Saxophone
    Eb Alto Saxophone
    Bb Tenor Saxophone
    Eb Baritone Saxophone

    C Trumpet Solo
    Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3, 4 (four players)
    F Horn 1, 2, 3, 4 (four players)
    Trombone 1, 2, 3                         
    Bass Trombone
    Euphonium (one or two players, as desired)
    Tuba (one or two players, as desired)

    Chorus                                          (SATB with divisi)


    P1: Timpani                         (4 drums – lowest note: F2; highest note F3)
    P2: Marimba / Crotales       (5-octave marimba necessary, with low E2)
    P3: Vibraphone
    P4: Suspended Cymbal
    P5: Tom-Toms                    (4 drums)
    P6: Bass Drum

    Piano (Concert Grand preferred)

    Performance Note

    Light amplification of the chorus is acceptable, if deemed desirable.

  • Performances:
    • March 11, 2019 (Premiere)
      "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, Col. Jason Fettig, director
      The Choral Arts Society of Washington, Scott Tucker, artistic director
      The Music Center at Strathmore - Bethesda, MD