"Invictus" (for Concert Band) by Mark Wolfram is a rhapsodic tone poem inspired by William Ernest Henley's 1875 poem. Henley, an atheist, tuberculosis and amputee survivor wrote the poem as his response to the horrific events befalling him. It was originally published with no title. The title "Invictus" was added to the poem in 1900 by editor Arthur Quiller-Couch when it was included in The Oxford Book of English Verse.
The music follows the emotional arc of the poem - initially dark and brooding - and ultimately moving to a place of confidence and triumph. Its performance requires a mature ensemble - patient, measured, with a strong sense of inner-rhythm. The slow tempo proceeds unabated from beginning to end - like an undeniable force. While starting with a sense of foreboding, the piece weathers on through the onslaught of life's circumstances and emerges "unconquered"! ("Invictus" is the Latin word for "unconquered")
Here is the poem in its entirety:
_________________________ Invictus (1875)
by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. _________________________
"Invictus" (for Concert Band) is a GRADE 6 concert band composition which highlights angular melodies, several step-out solos, colorful sonorities and large emotional tutti sections - all while combining several composition styles in an exciting blend which is both intellectually satisfying and aesthetically pleasing. The work has a duration of approximately 9:10.
A complete set of full-sized parts and a bound, transposed
full score are included. Available only through this website from Sound Studio Publications. The instrumentation/parts distribution for each set is as follows: