Frank Duarte

Composer, Songwriter, Conductor

hymn to the land of the rising sun


For Concert Band

Grade 5

Duration: 8’ 20”

Year of Composition: 2011

Commissioned by the Green Band Association and premiered by the Kyoto Tachibana High School Band, Hiroyuki Tanaka, Director, on January 3rd, 2012. Composer conducted premiere.


Hymn to the Land of the Rising Sun is, above all, a tone poem, with many symbolic meanings. It is a piece with essential styles and signature motifs that really paint the image of an American mural. This tone poem gathers all those styles that have remained strong amongst the American public and presents them as a gift to a land so dear in a time of difficulty.

In the beginning, a very prolific fanfare recalls all men, women and children who lost their lives and gives hope and encouragement to all. Uplifting in its nature, the main motif is developed throughout the piece in both aspects of the spectrum joy and sorrow.

The work's title is inspired by the Japanese name for Japan, 日本, which can be pronounced either Nihon or Nippon. Both readings come from the on'yomi:日 (nichi) means "sun" or "day"; 本 (hon) means "base" or "root". The compound means "base of the sun" or "sunrise" (from a Chinese point of view, the sun rises from Japan); it is of course a source for the popular Western description of Japan as the "Land of the Rising Sun".

Life is represented with the Japanese Folk Song "Hamabe No Uta" (浜辺の歌) to tell the story of the Japanese People and their daily lives and the well-known 18th century Christian Hymn, "Amazing Grace" represents peace and prosperity. These two borrowed songs, despite their different origins are fused together to represent the unity of two different cultures into one single, and bold friendship. Uplifting in its nature is a very heroic march, offered as a tribute and acknowledgement to the great strength and courage of all those who faced the hardships of that day in history.

I hope this particular work can also serve as one reminder of how fragile and precious life is and how intimately connected we eventually all are as human beings. I was personally honored and moved by this dedicational project, and deeply inspired by the multiple circumstances surrounding it. I was asked to not compose an elegy but a tone poem for the loved ones, as the piece commemorates the strength, the heroism, and the courage that compromise true virtues of heroes with honor.




California State University, Northridge Wind Ensemble, Los Angeles Premiere

April 26, 2015.