Frank Ticheli, born in Monroe, LA, is currently Associate Professor of Music at the University of Southern California and Composer-in-Residence of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from Southern Methodist College and his Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Composition from the University of Michigan. He has composed many works for band, wind ensemble, orchestra, chamber ensembles, and the theatre, and has won a number of prestigious awards.
Vesuvius began in the composer's mind as a wild and passionate dance such as might have been performed at an ancient Roman Bacchanalia. According to Ticheli, "As it grew more explosive and fiery, the piece evolved to become more like a dance from the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii, destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79." Indeed the mountain is symbolized by the power and energy in this work. The tension and suspense of the impending cataclysm characterizes the introduction of the main themes. Driving rhythms and complex mode changes convey a bacchanalian mood that is interrupted by quotations from the Dies Irae of the medieval Requiem Mass, invoked as a symbol of death and destruction. An image of everyday village life in the towns oblivious to the danger, portrayed in a quiet interlude, is disturbed by the first fiery events on the mountain. A final battle of themes builds to a state of extreme agitation, conveying the chaos of the volcanic explosions and suffocating ash. --James Huff 19:40, 28 November 2008 (UTC) (from the program notes of The Claremont Winds, submitted with permission)