for concert band
Approximate duration: ca. 4' 30"
fl. 1 & 2, ob. 1 & 2, bs., cl. 1 & 2, b.cl., a.s., t.s., b.s., trp 1 & 2, hrs 1 & 2, trb 1 & 2, b trb, tb, perc (4 players): timp, glock, vibr, mar, bell tree, cymb.
I’m not typically someone who consciously reflects current events in his art. My compositions are one of my methods of escaping from the instability of the world, so I tend to focus on ephemeral or abstract subjects, assuming that the outside world is something I’ve buffered myself against artistically.
But during the first five months of 2022 I found myself producing an amount of music unprecedented for me, mostly for concert band, with significant pieces engendered by current events. Just four days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, my Symphony for concert band cascaded out with an intensity I’ve never experienced before. And within hours of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde TX on May 24 I’d noted down the majority of a threnody that required almost no polishing or tweaking: the entire piece was written across a few hours over two days.
This elegy is the result of whole oceans of sublimations: the endless, incomprehensible parade of mass shootings, particularly at schools; the hate crimes that have burgeoned since the 2016 presidential election; the insanity of a significant portion of the American population willing to vote the basic tenets of democracy out of existence; the doom of climate change. But I want this piece to be cathartic and inspiring, to both assuage the darker feelings by releasing them, and provide an aspirational hope to the marginalized kids who find refuge in communities like the band world. For this reason the construction and technical requirements of the piece are deliberately kept simple so that it can be tackled by younger players, for whom the message of resilience is most intended.