Diane Wittry - Compositions


Mist     (2008)                                  16 minutes

On the island of Elba, off the coast of Italy, I composed this work as the sun was rising over the ocean in the mornings and gently sifting through the clouds against the lingering fog. As the piece developed, it took on a shape of its own and gradually became centered around diminished chords and the interval of a tri-tone (diminished 5th).  I love these chords for their angst and for their sadness, but also for their flexibility.

My piece is very textural in nature; and yes, it does have a melody of sorts, and yet, this melody comes and goes, and is never quite grasped until the end.  Portions of it are repeated and spun out creating layers of sound without the heaviness of form.  It is indeed a depiction of mist, where one minute you see things and the next they are gone. As you move through the piece, you find that the trumpet is also an antagonist, creeping in with a haunting cry; a reminder of things unsettled.  Throughout the piece, we are quietly searching.  We search for a tonal center for stability, and also for a melody that will make us feel fulfilled. Once found, we hold them for an instant, and then like the clouds and like life itself, they are gone.  We are warmed by their presence and saddened by their loss.

I hope that you will reflect upon your own memories of life’s quiet moments as we enjoy the world premiere of this new work together.  “Mist” is not a piece to be analyzed, but rather a piece to be experienced and absorbed.  As you listen, release your mind, embrace your emotions, close your eyes, and allow the mist to creep in.

Sound Link: Recording of "MIST" Slovac State Philharmonic, Kosice

Instrumentation: 2,*2,2,2 - 3,2,1,1,  tmp+1, harp, strings

Rental: Theodore Presser Company



"Lamentoso"     (2010)                11 minutes

Dedicated to Everyone Who Has Lost a Loved One

In these unsettled and violent times, it seems like more and more in the world we are surrounded by death. It comes often unexpectedly and touches close to home for all of us. A friend is diagnosed with cancer; another suddenly has a stroke or heart attack; a group of teenagers are in a fatal automobile accident. Sometimes we have time to prepare, sometimes not. Even when expected though, the news is jarring and strikes like a knife in our hearts. We all fear the phone call, the knock on the door, or, now, the email, that brings us the devastating news that someone very close to us has died.

In my piece Lamentoso I tried to capture the extreme pain, anguish and despair that one experiences with the suddenness of this news. These incredibly intense emotions are followed by a period of collapse, and a period of empty questioning; a haunting ache that seems timeless and never-ending. From this emptiness eventually grows hope, understanding and acceptance. There is a feeling of thankfulness for the place the person held in our life and the bittersweet joy of good memories. It is almost as if they were still there for us, reassuring us that everything is alright. In the end though, the ache is always a part of our life, surging up when unexpected, a memory of what we have lost, waking us up in the middle of the night — an empty void that will never go away.

Sound Link:

Instrumentation: *3,2,2,2 - 4,3,3,1,  tmp+1, (opt harp) strings

Rental: Peckham Publications




"after the rain"   (2012)              8 minutes

The inspiration for my piece "after the rain" came from sitting outside after a rain storm when the rain drops were still wet on the trees.  In those quiet moments, one can hear the gentle drop of the water as it hit a trash can lid or some other surface. Occasionally the wind blows and the droplets splatter creating interesting rhythms.  The birds  call back and forth answering each other, and the cicadas echo softly with their high pitched drone. As we sit enjoying nature, our mind wanders peacefully.  As the droplets drip quietly around us,  the sun slowly comes out from behind the clouds, and we feel that all is right with the world.

Sound Link: After the Rain

Instrumentation:  *2,1,1,1 - 1,2,1,0,   2 percussion , single strings or string section

Rental: Peckham Publications




"Concerto for Home-made
Instruments and Orchestra"
(2013)                                                5 minutes

The Concerto for Home-made Instruments is an audience participation piece which focuses on the different families of instruments in the orchestra (Strings, Winds, Brass, Percussion).  Instruction sheets are available to help young people build: coffee can drums, egg shakers, flower pot chimes, bottle xylophones, bleach bottle bugles, hose-a-phones, comb kazoos, straw reeds, pan-pipes, cereal box violins, wash tub basses, wooden harps, and more.  The young people playing each group of instruments is taught a specific rhythm that they will perform on their instruments with the orchestra.  This piece is a wonderful introduction to the orchestra and great fun for all.


Sound Link:

Instrumentation:  *2,2,2,2 - 2,2,1,0,  tmp+1 (optional harp) strings

Rental: Peckham Publications




Ravel's "Bolero"
(an Introduction to the Orchestra) 
(arrangement)                               7 minutes

The famous melody from Ravel's Bolero is a wonderful introduction to the instruments of the orchestra as each instrument is introduced with its solo melody.  This arrangement stays true to all of Ravel's original musical ideas, but provides a shorter version with a smaller instrumentation, that can be used on educational concerts for children or as a encore for your concert programs.

Sound Link:

Instrumentation:  2,2,2,2 - 4,3,3,1,  tmp+1 (opt. harp, Opt. celeste) strings

Rental: Peckham Publications




"Holiday Greetings"     
(2014)                                                18 minutes

Holiday Greetings for Chorus, String Quartet and Percussion can be performed as a suite in its entirety or performed as individual movements.  It captures the spirit of the holiday seasons with humor, but also reminds us of all the things we are thankful for. A wonderful addition to your yearly holiday concert. The last movement includes an optional sing-a-long for the audience.

Sound Link:

Instrumentation: Chorus (SATB), solo String Quartet, 1 percussion (can also be done with a string section)

Timings:                  Holiday Spirit - 4 minutes
                              The List - 5 minutes
                              I Feel Peace - 5 minutes
                              It's the Season - 4 minutes

Rental: Peckham Publications



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