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Aue! by Christopher Marshall (2001)

Aue! is essentially a miniature tone poem drawing upon my experiences in Samoa.

This music exists in two distinct forms: for wind ensemble and for orchestra. Here is the program note:

For three years we lived inland at Vaia’ata in Savai’i, Samoa. Often in the evenings you could hear sounds from the villages carried on the sea breeze – songs, dances, bells, drums – all filtered and transformed by the mists of the rain forest.

This music starts at Vaia’ata as we take the forest track down to the village. Gradually the music becomes louder and more clearly defined until we step from the forest into the bright daylight and the midst of a village ‘fiafia’, or celebration.

The central theme is the old Samoan tune ‘Faleula E’, or ‘People of Faleula’. The second motif, which appears first on the saxophones/solo cellos, is inspired by the powerful sound of the conch shell which announces an important event, and the chant-like cries of competing orators. Hymns are sung at all social events and fragments of one hymn tune appear throughout the piece, while the predominant percussive rhythm, on log and tin drums, accompanies the ‘sasa’, a popular dance.

The word ‘aue’ (pronounced almost as ‘OW-way’) is a Samoan exclamation expressing strong emotion. ‘Wow!’ would be a good translation.

Program notes written by Christopher Marshall (Orlando, Florida, 2019)


Aue!  was commissioned under the auspices of the WASBE School Band Network, an International Consortium of over sixty amateur, school and university bands and individuals from ten different countries.


First performed at the RNCM by Chethams Wind Orchestra, conductor John Dickinson, 7th April 2001.




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