premiered December 2011; University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble, Gerard Morris, Conductor
4(picc).3(ehn).6(eb, bs, cbs).3(cbsn).4sax(satb) - 4.4(picc).3.2(euph) - timp.5perc - pno(+cel) - db
This work was written in the Summer of 2011 for the University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble under the direction of Professor Gerard Morris, to be played alongside the works of my composition teacher, Dr. Robert Hutchinson, and a fellow student of his, Matt Zavortink. In a turn from my more immediate compositional tendencies, I kept much in the way of programmatic material out of this work. The first movement, "March," is a sort of fantasy on the idea of the band march, interspersed with the "swing" feel born of jazz at two metric levels: the triplet and the syncopated sixteenth. The second movement, "Prayer to Jesus Who Saves Us All," is what I consider to be the emotional foundation to the entire work, a meditative piece that provides some time for the audience to get a firmer grasp on my more abstract harmonic language. The final movement, "Impetus," was named only after I designed it, so the title is really more a description of the movement than visa versa: the movement moves forward with little regard for standard harmonic formulations and with a brash rhythmic flair, until finally it exhausts itself - and the piece as a whole - and falls dead.
Formally, this work is a demonstration of a sort of outline that I devised during the composition of a Concerto for Baritone Saxophone as part of a summer research grant from the University of Puget Sound. In it, a "chain" of motives is presented near the opening, and the piece proceeds to develop those ideas in the order of their original appearance. The idea is to give the same level of large-scale inevitability as the serial systems of the followers of the Second Viennese School, but without fully subscribing to their aesthetics. In other words, I am able to integrate more "tonal" elements alongside their more abstracted cousins, creating a discourse between musical languages without reducing each to a mere effect. This is not to say my music is at all tonal, but it is not precisely serial either, and the "Chain Form" allows me to exist comfortably between these two poles without - hopefully - sounding forced or as a poor substitute.
A performance of the entire work should last a little shy of eleven minutes.