Grade 5 (1:10)
|John M. Bliss|
"Centennial Tribute was written for the centennial of California State University, Fresno (my alma mater) in 2010.
In seeking to capture 100 years, I was reminded of the One Hundredth Psalm, which begins "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord." So this piece is full of "joyful noise."
The piece is written in the key of F (for Fresno) and also highlights the note C (for California, and Centennial). These letters combine to form the musical interval of a perfect fifth, one of the basic building blocks of music (something very traditional, but of ongoing relevance).
The other musical letters in these names: A (from California) and E (from Fresno), both of which are part of the word "centennial," also form a perfect fifth.
The main musical motive is formed from the juxtaposition of these perfect fifths; the use of written F and C on transposing instruments adds tonal variety.
As the piece builds to a close, these pitches are like twin pillars which remain constant against ever-changing harmonic turbulence around them (reflecting my hope that this institution will be of lasting influence, despite changes in technology and the surrounding culture).
The conclusion of the piece (which happens to be 100 beats long) includes a reference to the Fresno State fight song."