for concert band
Approximate duration: ca. 4' 30"
Difficulty: Moderately hard (Grade 4-5)
picc, fl. 1 & 2, ob., E.hr., bs. 1 & 2, cl. 1 & 2,b.cl.,a.s., t.s., b.s. / trp 1, 2 & 3, hr 1 & 2, trb 1 & 2, b trb, euph, tuba / harp / piano / perc (5 players): Crotales, vibraphone, marimba, small triangle, large triangle, finger cymbals, gong, glass wind chimes, bell tree, suspended cymbal
The original timbral idea for Firefall came to me while sitting in a concert at the 2019 Midwest Clinic in Chicago: I have no recollection of what group or piece. I do remember thinking of the opening descending thirds figure and wondering how that could be utilized in a band piece, and to what extent for different levels of band experience.
Serendipitously, not long afterwards I was made aware of the annual natural illumination phenomenon of the Horsetail Waterfall at Yosemite National Park in California, known as the “firefall”. Every February, the alignment of the earth’s rotation positions so that the sun’s rays at sunset hit the waterfall in such a way as to give the appearance that the water is instead flowing lava, or that the water is on fire. This visual impetus immediately made me think of my earlier timbral idea. From such disparities is art born.