program notes by composition > N > No Shadow of Turning

No Shadow of Turning

David R. Gillingham

No Shadow of Turning was commissioned by a consortium of organizations at Ohio State University in memory of Lois Brock, beloved secretary of the Ohio State University Bands. The work is based on the hymn tune “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, by Thomas O. Chisholm (words) and William M. Runyan (music).

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.

Refrain :
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided;
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto thee.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


The work begins quietly and somewhat mysteriously on a motive using the interval of the falling fourth of the hymn’s refrain. This material grows and gathers texture and then concludes softly on a rolled G major chord in the marimba.

A chorale follows, played by the vibraphone and hand bells. The composer calls this the “Lois Brock Chorale” as it exhibits the warmness of her ever-loving spirit. An interlude follows, utilizing motives from the hymn and leads to the flute playing the verse of the hymn. Pursuant to this quiet rendition is a rather aggressive section featuring the timpani and percussion that play with the open- ing motive of the refrain. This leads to a fugue on the same motivic material that grows in intensity and segues with the trombones playing the hymn tune in march-like style against fanfare-like motives in the trumpets.

All this subsides and the hymn is now played by the trumpets against the horns playing the Lois Brock Chorale. The full band joins in the refrain that rises to a glorious pinnacle and then concludes softly by the euphonium. The material from the introduction is then restated and leads to a final statement of the refrain, followed by a peaceful and heavenly benediction.

David Gillingham (b. 1947) earned Bachelor and Master Degrees in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and the Ph.D in Music Theory/Composition from Michigan State University. Over sixty of his works for band, choir, percussion, chamber ensembles and solo instruments have been published.

Last updated on July 6, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band