Eternal Father, Strong To Save
Legendary composer and personal friend of the composer, W. Francis McBeth once said, “If Claude Smith only wrote the fanfare to Eternal Father, he would still be a legend”. For its 50th anniversary concert, The United States Navy Band commissioned the composer to write a work based on the Navy hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save. Smith dedicated the piece to its Commander Ned Muffley, and was first presented March 4, 1975 at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C._x000d_
Smith takes the Navy’s hymn opening notes, and places it in the minor key for his dramatic opening fanfare. The now-minor key hymn tune is played Allegro vivace, and put through its various paces. All of this leads up to an emotional setting for French horn quartet, solemnly performing the hymn tune now returned to its major key. The full band stately plays the hymn; solo timpani roll crescendos into the original fanfare, which closes the piece.