Prelude and Fugue - Arise, My Soul, Arise!

by Captain Dean Goffin
Published for brass band by SP&S 1958 - tune - Darwells
Arranged for solo piano by Robert Getz - May 2006
Transcription written for and dedicated to Karen Krinjak


        Commissioner Sir Dean Goffin, as dubbed in later life, belongs to a very elite group of composers that can, with justification, be credited with never having written a dud. The output of Sir Dean was not especially prolific, but the quality defies description other than by listening. A list of his "classics" for brass band would need to include but not be limited to: A Symphony of Thanksgiving; My Strength, My Tower; Anthem Of The Free; Alderney; The Crusaders; The Light of The World; The Shadow of The Cross; The Compassionate Christ, and many more - each is a masterpiece of its genre. Clearly, the present piece, like many others, stands alone as totally unique in the literature.

        In the past, The Salvation Army published some band pieces transcribed for piano solo and more often for piano-four-hands. These were intended to be novelties, seldom aimed at artistic merit. The arrangers either felt that since people actually have ten fingers, they should all be employed at all times - "Idle fingers are the Devil's workshop", or something like that. Then there were those like my late and dear friend Emil Sodersrtom who not only believed in keeping all fingers busy all the time, but could span an eleventh while so doing!? Several of our pioneer composer/virtuosos, Eric Ball and Phil Catelinet come to mind, could actually use all ten fingers all the time without breaking a sweat. Regardless, the mortal pianist was exempt from many of these renderings.

        In my transcriptions, I do not simply transcribe the notes to fit the span of the human hand and let it go at that. I consider the hand's capability, the fact that a piano is a percussion instrument not capable of sustaining sonorities, and even the fact that lines can and should be broken to accommodate easier performance and clarity. The composer's "intent" sometimes mandates alterations of the exact text of a piece. It is my desire to create transcriptions that might well have been originally written for the piano rather than obviously transcribed from another medium, and to do so in a way that is faithful to the composer - and in which virtuosity is not mandatory.

        As I contemplated transcribing this piece, I was faced with challenges unique within my experience. Sustaining brass sonorities must be "implied" within the limits of the piano. In many, if not most, cases the difference provides a new kind of life for a piece. Clearly, hearing this piece on piano will be different than hearing it played by a brass band. "Different" is not synonymous with "inferior". A brass fanatic decried one of my transcriptions, by saying that most bandsmen might prefer to hear the colors of a brass band, or something like that. I prefer music, myself. If one listens with an open mind, one can be rewarded by things in a piano transcription that are better than a brass band and not possible there . . . and vice versa.

        Goffin's mastery is felt in every aspect of craftsmanship from the planning of keys and modulations to his flawless contrapuntal technique. However it is the sheer creative genius that makes this "music" of the highest order. In this transcription I did my best in a spirit of profound respect and admiration for my late colleague, Sir Dean Goffin. Enjoy his genius! God bless you!

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