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Anthem + Cello Concerto + Hummingbrrd for Euphonium

March 21, 2011 ComposingConcertMusic

I finished two new pieces last week. That makes three in the past month. This can’t be good for me…

The first, Anthem, is a brand new work for Jay Gephart and the Purdue University Wind Ensemble, commissioned to celebrate the Purdue Bands’ 125th anniversary. It’s 7’30” of joy, featuring twittering flutes, vibraphone, glockenspiel, crotales, piano, etc., finally culminating in a big rock anthem. Perhaps a cousin to Radiant Joy, but slightly easier, and veering toward rock instead of jazz.

The premiere is Friday, April 15th, 8pm, as part of the Purdue Bands Showcase. I’ll be conducting 5 of my other works (!) over the course of two nights.

The second work is a Concerto for Cello and orchestral winds & percussion ( Timp+3perc). Written for my dear friend and extraordinary cellist, Caroline Stinson (member of the Lark quartet, among many things), the piece is my first solo concerto (the Concerto for Wind Ensemble doesn’t really count – it’s a solo piece for everyone). In two movements, the first explores a fairly strict serial treatment of a nine-tone pitch row (stated clearly in the first bar), punctuated by a few notable moments of triadic harmony (still melodically related to the row). The second movement exploits the natural harmonics of the Cello, and is thus necessarily in a bright D-major (veering toward A-major) tonality, full of life and joy. And lots of vibraphone, glockenspiel, crotales, piano, etc. – a consequence of writing two works at the same time.

Premieres are March 25th, by Chris Wilhjelm and the Ridgewood Concert Band (NJ), and April 30th, with Cynthia Johnston-Turner and the Cornell University Wind Ensemble. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to hear the Ridgewood concert, since I’ll be at the CBDNA conference in Seattle, but definitely looking forward to visiting Cornell for their performance!

Last, I created a reworked version of Hummingbrrd for solo Euphonium and backing electronic track, commissioned and premiered (and recorded yesterday!), by Robert Benton. It’s insane how fantastic he sounds on the piece – I didn’t really believe it was possible to cover the range of the piece with such virtuosity on a single instrument, but it very obviously is. That will be available for sale this Fall at the same time Robert’s solo CD (featuring other new works for Euphonium by Jonathan Newman and Joel Puckett). It does NOT involve vibraphone, glockenspiel, crotales, piano, etc.

Next up: a 16′ Piano Concerto for Pamela Mia Paul! Again with orchestral winds and percussion. I’m thinking vibraphone, glockenspiel, crotales… and of course, piano. 😉